November 5, 2012
Olympians champions once more
Abbott’s goal in OT tops Elmira ND, 2-1
ONEONTA — Being in the Section 4 championship soccer match has been a tradition for Marathon Central boys, but you never know who might be the guy to step up with the big game-winning shot.
On a sloppy pitch Saturday, senior Tyler Abbott was the man as his goal 2:30 into the second 15-minute, sudden-victory overtime period gave the second-seeded Olympians a 2-1 victory over top-seed Elmira Notre Dame for the Section 4 Class D title.
Marathon improves to 17-2 and will meet the winner of Tuesday’s Section 3 championship match between Poland (16-0) and Old Forge (13-1-4) in the state regionals back in Oneonta.
This is the sixth sectional crown for Marathon in its eighth straight championship match, with the previous five titles and seven appearances in Class C. The last Marathon Class D crown came in 1980 and this recent victory is the 17th sectional crown in school history.
For Abbott, it couldn’t have been any better for a player who has battled some nagging injuries throughout his high school career. Abbott missed a scoring chance moments earlier on a through ball from Dan Lincoln. He got redemption on the decisive tally, the third goal for Abbott this season.
“I knew I had to keep the far post,” Abbott said of the golden goal. “I had so many chances that I knew I just had to keep going so I could get a shot. I saw Cody Morrison over there (running the left flank with the ball) so I went for it. He hit the ball to me and I was able to do it. It felt great as soon as I struck the ball.
“It feels amazing to keep our streak going,” he added. “We had a rough start. I had a rough start, but we all kept our heads together and pulled it off. I think we can keep it going this season.”
“I saw Tyler had a one-on-one and he made a great inside run,” Morrison said. “I hit the ball to him and was praying he would score. He collided with the kid, the ball bounced his way and he was able to put it in the net.
“We were really excited to be back here (in Oneonta),” he continued. “We will look to have a hard week of practice and to be back here next weekend for the regionals. Hopefully we can keep right on going and get back to Middletown. I think we are really peaking at the right time.”
FOR HEAD COACH Chip Stewart, it is his eighth championship in 11 tries during his 25-year tenure.
“It’s nice for something like this to happen for Tyler,” Stewart said of Abbott. “He has been through a lot of trials and tribulations, a lot of injuries. He could hardly play last year and he still has the nagging, or chronic, problem with his knee, but he is playing hard and fighting through the pain. He’s trying his best and he had just missed a chance earlier. I almost missed his goal because the referee was having me put together a penalty-kick list. He finished the play well. It is really fantastic for him.
“They are all sweet,” he continued on winning the title. “It doesn’t matter what class we’re in. We are having some great success right now. It is too bad that someone has to lose a game like this. Both teams had some good chances.”
Morrison gave Marathon a 1-0 lead with 5:15 left in the first half. The junior banged home a second-chance effort that started with a corner kick. Jacob Doran sent the ball into the box and Dan Lincoln got the ball on goal. Will Pochal made a nice save, but could not control the ball as it bounded away from him. Morrison was right there and put the ball into the back of the net. It was his 12th goal this season to go with his 10 assists for a team-leading 34 points.
“Dan Lincoln won a great ball,” Morrison said. “I give him all the credit. I was just there to pick up the slack. Jake Doran started the play with a great kick and Danny did all the work.”
Marathon had the better of the play for much of the first half, but neither team had a lot of great scoring chance. Young and Pochal (four saves) each made two saves in the half.
ELMIRA NOTRE DAME (15-4) tied the game up in the first two minutes of the second half when Ryan Bayne ripped a shot at Marathon goalkeeper Kyle Young, who blocked the ball with his chest, but it spun away from him. The spin caused the ball to trickle back towards the goal and it crossed the line just before Young could gather it back in. That was the low point for the sophomore keeper who made seven saves in the game and two big stops later in the half to keep the game level at 1-1.
“Kyle was visibly upset when he thought he let his teammates down when the goal went in,” Stewart said. “I told him after the game that he needs to have a big backbone to be a goalie. You will make mistakes and you have to count of your teammates to pick you up. I also asked him if he remembered the big saves he made that kept us in the ball game and sent us into overtime.”
Young (seven saves) made a great diving save to his right on a shot by Li Molingou with about 15 minutes to go He then tipped a rising shot by Alex Nassar over the cross bar to keep the game deadlocked at 1-1. In all, the Crusaders had seven second-half shots and Young stopped five of them.
“Kyle has saved our butts a number of times this season,” Marathon defender Tyler Hollerer said. “We know we need to protect our keeper, but he does the same for us. We’re all a family and we look out for each other.
“Elmira Notre Dame is a great team,” he added. “I thought we came out and played well most of the game. Thanks to Abby and Cody for sending the ball well, we’re moving on. A lot of credit goes to Coach Stewart as well. He works us hard, but we’ve developed good team chemistry and it all worked out for the best.”
In the first overtime, Morrison had the only real scoring chance by either team only to put the ball over the crossbar. In the second overtime, Abbott was thwarted by Pochal once. On the second chance, the senior was on the mark as the Olympians move on to regionals.
— In a correction from Thursday’s win over Cherry Valley-Springfield, it was Kody Barry with the restart kick that led to Lincoln’s goal, not Cody Morrison.
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