November 5, 2010
Olympians chasing three titles
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Tyler Marsh (7) of Marathon, making a move against a Spencer-Van Etten player in the IAC title game, leads the Olympians into Saturday’s rematch with S-VE in the Section 4 Class C finals in Oneonta.
It’s one of the smallest Class C schools in Section 4, but its sports teams are making one of the biggest roars during Championship Saturday.
Marathon Central has three teams competing in sectional championship matches, but for loyal fans of the Olympians it will be a tough decision as to which team to watch. There are some parents that have sons and daughters both in action, so the fan base will be thinned out a little bit for each squad.
Both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams begin the day with 2 p.m. title matches against fellow Interscholastic Athletic Conference squads.
The top-seeded Marathon boys (13-3-1) will square off against third-seed Spencer-Van Etten (12-4-1) at 2 p.m. at the Wright National Soccer Complex fields in Oneonta. This is a rematch of the IAC Overall Small School championship match from two weeks earlier that Marathon won 1-0 in double overtime.
The second-seeded Lady Olympians (14-3-1) will face top-seed Elmira Notre Dame (16-2) on the turf field at Binghamton’s Alumni Stadium
The third team in action is the third-seeded Marathon field hockey squad (13-5) who will meet top-seed Whitney Point (17-1) in a 3 p.m. Class C title match at Greene High School.
When you think about it, it also says a lot about the IAC as all four schools involved in the title games are members of that conference.
Marathon is already celebrating a Section 4 champion before these three teams step on their respective fields. Olympian sophomore Elizabeth Jewiss won the Class D Cross Country crown Thursday at Chenango Valley State Park (see related story).
“It’s a testament to the kids in our fall sports programs,” boys’ soccer coach Chip Stewart said. “It shows their dedication to the sport they play and it shows the determination and character of each kid. All three of these teams won tough semifinals contests.”
“I think they all feed of each other,” field hockey coach Karen Funk added. “Each sport wants to win. There is that strong desire there and they are really supporting each other very well this season. That is really nice to see.”
Trish Hayes, the girls’ soccer coach, echoed her fellow mentors comments a couple of weeks ago before the IAC Championships.
“It’s nice to have the girls’ and boys’ soccer team, plus field hockey, playing at this level,” she stated. “It says a lot about the athletes in this area. We are all having successful seasons and we are each supporting one another.”
FOR THE BOYS, this is their sixth straight Section 4 finals appearance and their eighth appearance this decade. The Olympians are 5-2 in those encounters, including two match-ups with S-VE. Marathon won the most recent encounter in 2007 by a 2-1 score. S-VE won the 2001 match 1-0.
“This will be a revenge match for them for the IAC championship two weeks ago and the 2007 loss,” Stewart said. “It will be another battle with them.
“Our guys will need to keep their composure because it will be a physical match,” he added .”We also need to convert our opportunities. We had a lot of them in the match two weeks ago and didn’t finish. We can’t do that again.”
Stewart says another key will be the ability to mark the two top Panther scoring threats, Eddie Butler and Billy Schanbacher. The Olympians were successful the previous time.
Senior Tyler Marsh leads the Marathon scoring attack with 17 goals and 13 assists. Junior Anson Dann has come on strong in the second half of the season and he has 10 goals and four assists. Six other Olympians have scored four to six goals this season.
Defensively, Marathon has allowed just 14 goals this season, junior goalkeeper Evan Holl has a 0.68 goals-against average with 10 shutouts. Junior netminding mate Robbie Peri has been involved in eight shutouts and sports a solid 1.15 GAA.
Helping out in the defense third have been junior Austin Fox, junior Justin Zelsnack, junior Eric Barry, freshman Tyler Hollerer and senior Teddy Morrison among others.
THE LADY BOOTERS are equally tough defensively having allowed just 18 goals. Junior goalkeeper Samantha Courtney has a 1.02 GAA with eight shutouts while senior Heidi Grinnell boasts a 0.80 GAA with three shutouts. Both will be tested by a Crusaders team that has outscored its opponents 16-0 since losing in the IAC Overall Large School title match to Lansing two weeks ago.
Marathon has some very good players who can put the ball in the net. Rachel Parker leads the charge with 22 goals this season and 11 assists. The senior has 97 career goals. Sophomore Emma Holl and junior Katelyn Morrison are close behind with 16 and 13 goals respectively. Senior Lindsay Peri lead the team in assists with 21 and sweeper Emily Icenogle can provide scoring punch when she moves up the field from her sweeper position.
Icenogle anchors that defensive back line that includes senior Alexa Barber, junior Emilee Reynolds and sophomore Danielle Peebles.
The Olympians have played three games on turf this season and Hayes believes that will be helpful Saturday.
“Being on turf again will benefit our game.” she said. “We just need to keep up with the pace of the turf. The ball will roll and take a different bounce than it would on grass. We played on turf at Greene and in the IAC championship (at Ithaca High School), plus we played a game at TC3. Hopefully, that will work in our favor.”
This is the second trip to the Section 4 finals for the Marathon girls.
IN FIELD HOCKEY, Section 4 title games and Marathon are often spoken in the same breath. This is the fifth straight year and 11th time in the past 12 seasons that the Olympians have reached the title game.
The Olympians posted 2-1 win over Whitney Point in the 2009 championship game at Vestal en route to state title number nine.
“This time, it is definitely a big challenge for us,” Funk said. “This is a revenge match for Whitney Point and they have many of their starters back from that team. We are a much younger team with just two returning starters. These Whitney Point girls have played together and a change of coaches has not bothered them.”
Four of the five losses this season have been to teams in the Section 4 finals Saturday including two losses to Maine-Endwell (Class B), one to Whitney Point, plus one loss to Class A finalist Greene. The Whitney Point loss was the final game for Janice Dean as head coach September 16 and former Harpursville coach and Whitney Point grad Nicole Huston has taken over the reins of the program.
“Our advantage is that we had a tougher semifinal match,” Funk said. “I truly believe that will help us. We scored late in that game so we had to stay focused the whole 60 minutes.”
Though it is a young team, Funk credits a lot of the success this season to the senior leadership of Kim Braman, Alycia White and Emily Williams. The later two are part of a good defensive back line that also includes senior Ashley Lincoln, sophomore Ashton Hawks and junior goalkeeper Sam McMahon.
They have allowed just 16 goals and McMahon carries a 0.86 goals against average into the title game with 11 shutouts.
Offensively, sophomore Shelby Underwood leads the scoring list with 24 goals and 11 assists. Junior Tatum Knapp has tallied 13 goals and 12 assists while sophomore Amanda Horton has contributed 16 goals and five assists.
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