November 8, 2010
Olympians rule ‘C’ soccer world
Marathon girls take Section 4 title over END
BINGHAMTON — After the Section 4 Class C semifinal victory over Walton, Marathon Central girls’ soccer coach Trish Hayes said, “Defense wins championships.”
That familiar cliche was never truer than Saturday night at Binghamton High School’s Alumni Stadium as the second-seeded Olympians grabbed a 1-0 first-half lead over top-seed Elmira Notre Dame and endured 34 minutes of intense second-half pressure before emerging with their second sectional crown in three seasons.
Kaitlin Morrison gave Marathon (15-3-1 overall) its lead with 17:32 left in the first half and Samantha Courtney made 13 saves as the Olympians upset Elmira Notre Dame (16-3) by that 1-0 score.
Marathon will meet Section 3 champion Sauquoit Valley (18-1) in New York State Class C regional action this coming Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Chittenango High School.
“We joked that we spent 32 minutes down there and eight minutes here,” Marathon coach Trish Hayes chuckled after the match, referring to the time spent defending their own goal. “We knew they would come out very high-pressure in the second half. We knew there would be another player forward, because that’s what they did in the game against Lansing. That’s exactly what they did and we made our halftime adjustment for that. We made sure we marked up Bee (Bulkley). We made sure we marked Marianne (Thomaris) and we marked up Rachel (Lamoreaux).
“We stayed composed,” she continued. “That’s really what it was, we stayed composed. Give them a lot of credit. They got the ball in quickly. They got the direct kicks and they kept up the pressure. We stayed organized and we kept our shape defensively.”
The most remarkable thing from this game is the shutting out of a Crusaders team that outscored its opposition 16-0 in two previous sectional games to reach the final.
“That is really impressive,” Hayes acknowledged. “Playing the teams like Lansing, Trumansburg and Dryden prepared us for this game. Playing five Class B school like we did really helped us a lot.”
After 20 minutes of feeling each other out, Marathon started using the wind to its advantage in the first half and took the lead. The Olympians pushed the ball forward and Ellena Holl found some open space. She controlled the ball off a free kick and made a nice pass to Morrison for the solid finish as Marathon took a 1-0 lead with 17:32 left in the first half.
“I never thought that one goal would be enough,” Morrison said. “I am happy that we were able to hold them off. We are a defensive team and we were able to hold them off at the end. We are good under pressure.”
“Getting that first goal was so important,” Holl added. “We got an advantage and we knew that they would come back with a lot of pressure.”
The Olympians continued to push forward and generated a few scoring chances, but also sent a number of balls wide and over the cross bar.
Notre Dame began to build up pressure in the final six minutes of the first half. The Crusaders actually got four corner kicks in the final 5:45 of the half. The biggest threats were a shot off the cross bar by Lamoreaux and another ball that was headed out by the defense.
With the wind, Notre Dame made the second half a totally different story. The Crusaders unleashed two shots in the first two minutes and four before five minutes had elapsed. Courtney, who had less than 100 saves in the first 18 games this season was ready and more than able. The junior made 13 saves, 11 of them in the second half.
“I like the challenge,” Marathon keeper Courtney said of being tested so much in the second half. “It helps me and it helps our team get better.
“We played our hardest because we knew they wanted it as much as we did,” she continued. “The pressure doesn’t matter as long as you come out with the win.”
With 17:35 to play, Notre Dame had a golden opportunity with Courtney near the right post and a wide open are by the left post. The point-blank attempt was never converted as the ball drifted wide of the post and out of play.
The next best attempt came with 13 minutes to go. Thomaris has a low shot that Courtney stopped, but the ball bounced away for a second, but she pounced on it before Lamoreaux could follow up.
The momentum slowly began to shift back to Marathon. The Olympians were able to get the ball back in the Notre Dame defensive half of the field in the closing minutes. Even though they didn’t get a shot, sending the ball out of bounds and up the field successfully killed off the final five minutes and the Olympians celebrated their second sectional title in three years.
“It’s funny because I listened to when you talked to “Freshie”,” Hayes said. “Kaitlin was a freshman when we won our first state title. She did a great job then and she is now a junior. I think she is ready to step up now and we can find another nickname for her. She did played a nice game today.
“Rachel (Parker), Lindsay (Peri) and all of our seniors have really worked hard all season long,” she continued. “It’s nice to have some experience this time around. I really think that helped us out tonight by having them out there from previous playoff team that went so far.”
Holl said there is something else helping this team succeed in 2010.
“This feels so awesome because we are a family,” she said. “We are all going to Kaitlin’s house and spent time together as a family. That’s what it’s all about.”
To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe