November 5, 2009
Olympians head back to Oneonta
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
John Robinson (12) of Marathon, slides into the ball before Spencer-Van Etten’s Ryan Ward (6) can get off a pass Wednesday in Section 4 Class C tournament play. Host Marathon advanced to the final with 4-1 victory.
MARATHON — Hustling from the opening whistle, Marathon Central boys seem to re-assert their right to be in the Section 4 Class C championship soccer match.
Tyler Marsh gave the top-seeded Olympians a 1-0 lead on a rebound goal just 3:22 into Wednesday afternoon’s semifinal match with fourth-seed Spencer-Van Etten, Doug Whitney added a pair of goals and the hosts rolled to a 4-1 victory to advance to its fifth straight sectional title tilt.
The Olympians (15-2) will face third-seed Greene (16-1-1) — a 3-0 winner over second-seed Delhi (15-3) in yesterday’s other semifinal match — in Saturday’s 11:15 a.m. championship game at the National Soccer Hall of Fame Fields in Oneonta. Marathon won three straight sectional titles from 2005-2007 in Oneonta before falling in the title game to Delhi a year ago.
“We’ve been there five straight years,” Marathon coach Chip Stewart said. “Hopefully, we can redeem ourselves from last year.
“Like I have said before, it’s always survive and advance,” he continued. “We did jump on them early. I was hoping for a knockout punch when we got up 4-0. We didn’t get number five. We had chances, but we just didn’t put it away. They got one back and we didn’t want them to get another to build momentum. We got defensive and kept our shape to prevent any more goals.”
Overall, Stewart was pleased with his team and the final result.
“Brendan Morrison played very well for us,” Stewart said. “Josh Lincoln played great. John Robinson, Jared Davenport, really all the seniors stepped up.”
Whitney got a breakaway in the second minute of play, but his shot at the right post was stopped by S-VE goalkeeper Keith Nelson (nine saves). That was just the start of the Olympian pressure.
It was Whitney’s corner kick that led to Marsh’s goal. Whitney sent the ball into the box and Lincoln headed it towards the goal. S-VE’s Nelson kept the ball out of the goal, but the ball bounced away. Marsh followed up and booted the ball into the back of the net
Six minutes later, Mike Bellefleur delivered a nice through ball to Whitney. The senior outraced a Panther defender and fired a shot inside the right post for a 2-0 advantage.
The Olympians stayed on the attack and got their third goal with 57 seconds left in the first half. Teddy Morrison sent a corner kick into the box. Lincoln out-jumped the defenders and headed the ball by Nelson for the three-goal cushion.
The second half began like the first with Marathon on the attack. Marsh missed once high and another wide. He followed with a nice pass to Whitney for a one-timer, but Nelson made the save.
With 30:37 left in the match, the Olympians went ahead 4-0. Lincoln carried the ball into the right side of the box and made a perfect crossing pass. Bellefleur missed the ball, but Whitney was waiting near the left post and popped the ball into the back of the net.
“We moved the ball very well,” Stewart said. “We made good decisions with the ball in the first half. Josh went up in the air and played the ball well. He is one of the target guys on our corner kicks because he can go up for the ball.
“Smerky (Marsh) was where he was suppose to be on the corner kick,” he continued. “Those are the things we talk about in practice. He stayed right there and the ball came right to his foot and he put it in the goal. That goal came so early in the game and it really put them (S-VE) on their heels. They made some changes defensively and it hurt them.”
Marathon got a few more good chances, but Nelson made the save or the shot just missed its mark.
Spencer-Van Etten got on the scoreboard with Eddie Butler delivered a high pass towards the Olympian goal. Christian Pasto reached the ball first and flicked it into the upper left corner of the goal.
“I knew we were going up against a fantastic team in Marathon,” S-VE coach Matt Wigsten said. “They are always good. They are older than us. We started seven guys that are 10th-grade or younger. I wanted to see a little better game for them, but I was really proud of how we came back in the second half and played a 1-1 half.
“We knew what was coming today,” he continued. “Chip coaches his guys well and they execute their game plan every game, every single year.”
“It feel goods,” Lincoln said of returning to Oneonta. “They beat us at TC3 in the IAC tournament. We were playing with some revenge in mind.
“We have worked well and gotten better from the beginning of the season,” he added. “We are getting stronger, offensively and defensively, every game.”
Lincoln has improved his level of play as have his teammates.
“It has definitely helped playing with the varsity for three years,” Lincoln said. “Coach Stewart helps all of us. He really helps out with your game.”
There is an interesting side story to the Marathon-Greene championship match. Trojan coach Rick Tallman is a former player under Stewart.
“Rick played for me two years,” Stewart said. “I think it was 1989-90. I know he’d like to played us and we’d like to play them. We are thankful to be there again.
“Greene is having great year,” he continued. “We will have our hands full. We have two days to prepare and we’ll head there looking to play a good game. We’re looking to bring the title back to Marathon where it was for three years.”
Greene 3, Delhi 0: Ethan Buhl, Eli Marks and Alex Driscoll scored second half goals for Greene as the Trojans eliminated the defending sectional champions.
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