November 6 , 2006


Marathon keeps ‘C’ crown


Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Marathon’s Zach Salisbury, right, heads the ball away from Elmira Notre Dame’s Joel Wetmore during Saturday’s Section 4 Class C title game in Oneonta. Marathon rolled to 4-1 victory.

Staff Writer

ONEONTA — There was little doubt as to who was in control of the Section 4 Class C championship soccer match Saturday.
Marathon Central boys drew on their experience and dominated a younger Elmira Notre Dame team 4-1 to claim their second straight sectional crown at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta.
The Olympians (17-2-1 overall) will meet Section 3 champion Manlius-Pebble Hill (16-1-1) Friday in a 1 p.m. match back at the Hall of Fame Complex.
“We are real excited to win another sectional title,” said senior midfielder Ben McDonald, who scored the go-ahead first half goal. “We came out today and played like a team. We really did a good job.”
“It starts in practice,” he added. “You can see how we have become more of a family. We have really come together this season.”
Marathon grabbed the lead in the sixth minute of the match when Matt Braman headed a corner-kick by Zach Salisbury into the lower right corner of the goal.
“I was worried that we may be snake-bitten early in the game,” said Marathon coach Chip Stewart. “We missed a lot of good early chances. I was wondering if those misses by Matt Braman, Zach Salisbury and Vinnie Powierski when we first came out to start the game would come back to haunt us and change the momentum. We broke through with the goals by Braman and Ben McDonald in the first half.”
Elmira Notre Dame (12-5-1) did even the score in the 18th minute when senior Tommy Castle settled a long throw-in from Joel Wetmore. Olympian goalkeeper Josh Kashuba (four saves) made his only mistake of the game and was caught out of position. Castle was given a small opening and he did not miss the chance to push the ball along the goal line and just inside the right post.
Minutes later, the Olympians missed a golden opportunity to take a 2-1 lead. Matt Doran fired a shot form near the top of the box. Crusader goalkeeper Alex Todd (12 saves) made the initial save, but the ball caromed away. Alan Brown came rushing in from the right flank to blast the rebound attempt. The hard shot deflected off the right post and out of play.
Marathon kept the pressure up and it paid of with 1:37 left in the half. Brown moved into position again and slid a strong crossing pass from the end line to McDonald, who was camped by the left post. McDonald popped the ball into the net as the Olympians took the lead for good.
 “It was set-up perfectly,” said McDonald of his scoring finish. “The ball rolled right through to me. Alan Brown made a nice crossing pass and Jason Luce dummied it to me.”
Notre Dame came out quickly in the second half as Fielding Clark rocketed a shot that Kashuba grabbed in the first 10 seconds, but it would be Marathon in control most of those final 40 minutes.
After two misses from point-blank range, the Olympians took a 3-1 lead when Andrew Parker dove and headed a crossing pass from Doran. The final came with roughly 27 minutes left when Salisbury sent another corner-kick towards the box and Jason Luce popped the ball into the net with a nice header.
“The goal by Andrew Parker was big,” Stewart said. “He is not the guy you would expect to get a header. He is not our best guy to head the ball. He made a great play to come up with his goal and Jason made a great play as well.”
“We really were good in the air today,” Stewart added. “We did a lot of little things that were important. We really kept our composure when things did get a little chippy.”
Marathon did a number of other scoring chances, but could not convert while Notre Dame did get a decent shot from 35 yards on a free kick by Chris Wood, but Kashuba grabbed the ball to prevent the scoring try. For the most part, Wood was ineffective because of the defensive play of Aubrey Brown.
The final 10 minutes were less than stellar moments, especially for the Crusaders who picked up two yellow cards and a red card issued to Mark Evans after he collected two yellow cards, which became the red card.
The Olympians dominated on the ground and in the air, holding a 16-5 edge in shots and 6-0 advantage in corner-kicks.
“We were strong in the air today,” McDonald said. “That was something that we have been working on more in practice. If we keep finishing off plays like that, we should do alright.”
“We did what we had to do today,” said senior defender Brett Padbury, one of the anchors of this very good defensive group. “We played hard. We put the ball in the net. I am not sure who we play yet, but we will just have to keep on going.”
“Defensively, we know how the head the ball out (of danger) or make a good clearing pass to the outside,” he added. “We have a good group of seniors and we have been playing together for a while. A lot of the credit goes to Coach Stewart. He really knows what he is doing and he knows how to keep us tight as a group. We are as good as we are because of our coach.”
“These seniors are a very special group,” Stewart said. “I am glad the season didn’t end today. It will be very hard to say goodbye to these guys. They work very hard in practice and they do all the things you would expect them to do. They are tremendous teammates.”




Eagles defense delivers ‘D’ title

Staff Writer

For a coach whose team had just won its third sectional girls’ soccer title in four years and not allowed its championship-game opponent to come close to getting a shot on goal, John Rutan wasn’t all that happy Saturday evening.
“Our defense can dominate pretty much,” he said in the wake of his top-ranked McGraw Central squad’s 2-0 win over No. 14 Madison at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex. “But tonight was definitely not our best game in terms of ball movement or movement off the ball. We possessed it well enough, but didn’t use the width of the field very well.”
The McGraw defense made sure that the Blue Devils didn’t get a chance to use any part of the field effectively on offense. In rolling up a 16-0 shot advantage and not allowing Madison to get anywhere close to testing goalkeeper Chelsea Hayes, the Eagles continued their season-long domination of their Central Counties League foe.
In a pair of 1-0 wins during the regular season, Rutan’s squad racked up shot counts of 13-2 (at Madison Sept. 14) and 16-1 (at home Oct. 10). Hayes made two saves in the first game and one in the second, and Emily Williams scored the only goal in each contest.
“My foot went numb and I had to take my shoe off and warm it up at halftime,” sophomore netminder Hayes said of Saturday evening’s chilly contest, in which she was mostly idle and alone on McGraw’s end of the field. “I had to jump up and down to keep myself pumped, and tried to get the girls going so I could get myself going as well.
“Our defense is just awesome. Sarah Bilodeau (senior sweeper), (freshman) Kristin Guy and (senior) Julie Hewes, the outside backs, and (sophomore) Alicia Giamichael at stopper were just on tonight.”
“We looked nervous early in the game,” said Rutan, whose team is now 19-0-1 this season and ranked ninth in the state. “The kids were kind of dead-pan. Maybe it’s because they’ve seen this team three times. The first goal loosened them up some.”
That tally came off the foot of senior forward Jen Rutan, the coach’s daughter, who scored 12:15 into the game from close range on the left-wing side out of a scramble after a corner kick from the left corner by freshman midfielder Nicole Law. “Everyone was scrambling and the ball went across the goal face,” Jen Rutan said in describing her team-leading 18th goal of the season. “I just toe-poked it inside the left post.”
Williams closed out the scoring with 11:52 left until halftime, taking the ball off a throw-in and dribbling a good distance on the left wing before beating Blue Devil goalie Caitlyn Smith.
“This was McGraw’s best game against us,” said Madison coach Herb Bingel, whose team finished the season at 11-9-1. “They were one step ahead of us, and we couldn’t get anything going. Every time we’d get a good push they’d take it away.
“I think the girls were a little excited to be in the finals here, which might have been part of it. But I’m proud of them. They got here, which is a big deal, and as a 14th seed, it took the top seed to beat us.”
As noted, the sectional D title was McGraw’s third in four years, a string of success interrupted only by a first-round shootout loss to 16th-seeded Hamilton last fall, when the Eagles were also the top seed.



Rowan goes OT to beat Dragons

GLASSBORO, N.J. — Scoring on its very first possession was just the way SUNY Cortland was hoping to get this New Jersey Athletic Conference football challenge_underway.
But that opening 17-yard touchdown run by Stef Sair — the All-American senior safety who got some snaps in with the offensive unit for this special occasion — would be the only time the Red Dragons would find the end zone against Rowan University on Saturday afternoon.
By the time this defensive struggle was over before nearly 3,000 fans at John Page Field, the Red Dragons had lost yet another quarterback to injury while being handed their first loss of the season.
In a match-up of defending NJAC co-champions and nationally ranked teams, 21st ranked Rowan escaped with a 14-7 overtime victory over fifth ranked Cortland when senior quarterback Mike Orihel threw a 21-yard pass to senior wide receiver Jim Migliore for the tie-breaking touchdown.
The Red Dragons had won the overtime toss and elected to play defense, only to give up the TD pass to a wide open Migliore when the defense bit on a play fake. It was Orihel’s school record 68th touchdown pass of his career.
When given their chance to_answer back, the visitors were thwarted.
Senior tailback Matt Rickert lost five yards on a first down carry and freshman back-up quarterback Sean Pratt was sacked for a 6-yard loss. A third down incompletion left the Red Dragons with a 4th-and-21 situation to convert, and a pass to Rickert picked up just four yards and this game was over.
That stopped an eight-game winning streak for Cortland, now 8-1 overall. Having finished with a 6-1 record in conference play, the Red Dragons will again share first place with Rowan if the Profs defeat William Paterson this Friday night.
If Rowan (5-1 NJAC, 6-2 overall) beats last place William Paterson at home, it receives the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III playoffs. That means Cortland will have to earn an at-large bid to get into the NCAA field, which makes Saturday’s noontime hosting of Ithaca College in the annual Cortaca Jug battle even more important.
Ithaca (7-2) will also need a win to get NCAA consideration, after former Red Dragons coach Dave Murray’s Alfred squad topped the Bombers 28-17 in a Saturday Empire 8 first place battle.
Tickets for the annual Cortaca Jug game are sold out.