November 4, 2011
Marathon squads returning to finals
Bob Ellis/staff phtoographer
Marathon boys’ soccer head coach Chip Stewert has his team in the Section 4 Class C title game for a seventh straight season. The Olympians face Lansing Saturday in Oneonta.
In what has become an annual rite of fall sports teams in Marathon Central, two are heading back to Section 4 championship matches Saturday.
In Oneonta, the Olympians will battle Interscholastic Athletic Conference rival Lansing for the Class C boys’ soccer championship on Field 4 at the Wright National Soccer Campus.
In Greene, Marathon girls will challenge Sidney for the Class C field hockey title at 7 p.m.
This is the seventh straight season the Olympians (17-1) will compete for the sectional crown in boys soccer.
Since 2005, the Olympians have gone 5-1 in the title tilt, including a 3-1 win over Spencer-Van Etten in 2010. In all, Marathon has competed in 21 Section 4 title matches dating back to 1951 with a record of 13-6-2. In both ties, the Olympians won the right to advance on penalty kick shootouts.
The last Lansing (18-0) Class C crown came in 2004. The Bobcats, ranked No. 1 in the latest New York State Class C poll, moved up to Class B in 2005 and won titles in 2005 and 2007. Since 1994, the Bobcats have made five trips to the finals with four victories.
“Bragging rights will be on the line again,” Marathon coach Chip Stewart said. “Adam (Heck) and I have been coaching against each other for a while and that even goes back to my basketball coaching days. We are still defending our sectional title. Nobody has stopped us yet. We will work hard to keep that title another year. This will be a closely contested match.”
The Olympians are led by the scoring senior trio of Tyler Nelson, Eric Barry and Anson Dann. Nelson leads the team in points with 47 on 17 goals and 13 assists, tying for the team lead in the helping category with sophomore Cody Morrison (31 points on nine goals and 13 assists). Barry and Dann both have 46 points. Barry with the help of a team-leading 21 goals plus four assists. Dann has 18 goals and 10 assists. Senior midfielder Evan Holl has nine goals and 10 assists with junior Tyler Abbott also collecting nine goals. Senior Cameron Turner and Joey O’Shea are also in double figures for points. Turner has 14 points (4g-6a) while O’Shea has 13 points (6g-1a). In all, 19 players on the original varsity roster have recorded at least one point.
Defensively, senior goalkeeper Robbie Peri has allowed just nine goals this season with a 0.56 goals-against average. In front of him, Jeff Contri (sweeper), Austin Fox (stopper back) and marking backs Justin Zelsnack and Tyler Hollerer have been solid. Stewart will have Barry, Holl, Dan Lincoln and Morrison starting at midfield with Dann and Nelson as the strikers.
“This group has worked hard,” Stewart said. “They all played for the Marathon Stampede. They buy into a system they believe in. They fight for each other and have a chemistry. They don’t play for a name on the front and the back, they play for me and they play the ‘we’ game. I can’t ask for a better group of kids.”
Lansing is solid on offense led by the trio of Ethan Kutler, Benji Geisler and Ellington Hopkins. The Bobcats are equally tough on the defensive side with goalkeeper Benji Parkes only surrendering four goals all season.
“Lansing is very talented,” Stewart said. “They are sound on defense and Parkes is very good in goal. Ethan Kutler as been a pain in my side the last two years. He is a very good player.
“We need to maintain are match-ups on defense,” he added. “Offensively, we need to be more efficient. We won’t get 20 shots in this game. We’ll get seven or eight, of which three or four will be good quality chances. We need to score on those chances.”
Some people grumble about the trip to Oneonta when there are so many neutral sights between here and there, but Stewart has grown to take a different stance on the long trip.
“There is something special about Oneonta,” he said. “I really like it over there. If they had some fields like that around here, and they were grass, because you know my feelings about turf, I might think differently. Turf is nice, but not for soccer, especially for the way we like to play Marathon soccer. We have a pretty good record there so, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ll go there and hope to be successful again.”
IN FIELD HOCKEY, Marathon girls are on a streak of their own as they make their sixth straight appearance in the sectional finals. The Olympians (16-1) are 4-1 in this streak which also includes their seventh, eighth and ninth state titles.
Marathon owns 11 sectional titles (11-6 finals record) in head coach Karen Funk’s 38-year coaching career. The Olympians lost to Whitney Point last year by a score of 3-2, but are looking to get back on the winning track against Sidney.
Offensively, Marathon is led by junior Shelby Underwood and senior Tatum Knapp. Underwood leads the team in goals scored (34) and points (48). Knapp leads the team in assists (15) with 25 goals for 40 points. Junior midfielder Amanda Horton is next with 12 goals and seven assists.
The Olympians have given up 18 goals this season, but eight were against Class B finalist Maine-Endwell and eight more in a pair of match-ups with Whitney Point. Senior goalkeeper Samantha Courtney has a 1.20 goals-against average with 12 shutouts.
Courtney has a solid defensive line in front of her in senior Margaret Thon, junior Kassidy Stone, junior Ashton Hawks and junior Emily Lawrence. The midfield feature Horton, sophomore Eryn Griep, junior Allie McConnell with Underwood, Knapp and senior Tessa Miner on attack.
Sidney (10-7-1) has a defense anchored by goalkeeper Kelsey Decker, one of three sophomores on the roster that includes eight seniors.
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