November 15, 2008
Olympians take final step
Pull off 1-0 upset over No. 1 Plattsburgh Seton
DRYDEN — Almost 37 minutes had gone by in this New York State Class C soccer semifinal game before Marathon Central girls finally got off their first shot.
Who knew that would be the only scoring chance these upstart Olympians needed.
Sophomore Rachel Parker cashed in on that initial opportunity and Marathon protected that precious goal with some second half scrambling on defense to upset Plattsburgh Seton Catholic 1-0 at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Despite being out-shot by a whopping 17-4 margin, despite the constant pressure applied by the Knights out of northern New York’s Section 7 throughout this brisk and breezy Friday evening, the Olympian are now a win away from capturing a state title in just their fifth season of being a varsity squad.
State tournament neophyte Marathon (18-4-1) will facing a seasoned York (20-2-3) squad making a third straight appearance in the Class C title game scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. this afternoon back at TC3.
York out of Section 5 — the 2006 state champs and runners-up a year ago — beat Stony Brook from Section 11 by a 2-0 margin in the other semifinal contest held at Homer High School’s Butts Field.
“I don’t want to say no, but it is all so surreal, ” said Coach Trish Hayes when asked if Marathon’s remarkable post-season success has been a surprise. “We never won a sectional title before, never played in the state tournament and have never made it to the finals before. It’s a lot to take in in such a short time. It is just all so surreal.”
Junior goalie Brittney Krebs, whose aggressive play and eight saves helped keep Plattsburgh Seton off the scoreboard, did not act surprised at all. “From the start of the season we had this as a goal, to get here,“ insisted Krebs. “We worked hard and did it.”
Plattsburgh Seton was left stunned to see a stellar season snuffed out like this, the Knights beaten for just the second time in 23 outings. “Unfortunate,“ was how head coach Samantha Menton would label this painful loss. Her skilled team came into the game ranked No. 1 in the latest state poll, a spot ahead of Marathon.
“I thought we were the better team, but one shot made the difference. That‘s all it takes in a game like this,“ added Menton. “They were solid in the back. They adjusted well and made changes and took balls away from us that we should have had in our hands.”
Marathon was playing into a stiff breeze over the opening 40 minutes, which helped Plattsburgh Seton to keep the pressure on. An occasional counter attack featuring Shawna Hurlbert, Brooke Winter-Parker, Parker or Kelsey Peebles always seemed to come up a final pass short.
With 18 minutes to go in that opening half, Marathon almost caught Knights keeper Demi Pellerin straying to far away from goal but failed to take advantage. All of the dangerous stuff was coming from Plattsburgh Seton, who also took six corner kicks in the opening half.
THEN WITH THE HALF winding down, Marathon finally was able to string some passes together — the last finding Parker unmarked just outside the box. She sent a low, hard shot inside the left post and past a lunging Pellerin and the Olympians had their lead.
“I always get yelled at because I’m supposed to move up and give Shawna support,” said midfielder Parker. “Their defense got sucked up and I moved up for support and somehow they got the ball to me and somehow it went in. Somehow, it went in.”
Sophomore Lindsey Peri was the player providing the assist to finish off some nice combination work from the Marathon front line.
Plattsburgh Seton had two dangerous corner kicks create havoc in front of the Marathon goal immediately after falling behind, but Marathon went into its halftime chat happy to have a lead despite having been on the defensive for most of the time — something Coach Hayes attributed to semifinal nerves
There were plenty of more nervous moments to come for the Olympians in the second half, despite having the wind as a helper.
“I was a little bit nervous and excited at the same time,” said Krebs of the second half challenges turned back with the help of a defense led by junior Paige McCarthy.
“Paige is a rock back there,” said Coach Hayes of her steady sweeper. “She does a good job of talking and telling everyone what to do and is just the heart of our defense.”
The defense certainly got tested down the stretch, especially some 12 minutes into the second half when Plattsburgh had a string of golden chances.
SOPHOMORE FORWARD Rhea Breyette redirected a crossing pass on goal only to have Krebs in the right place at the right time to collect that shot. Moments later Breyette delivered the crossing pass that found senior midfielder Renee Egan with room in front of the Marathon goal, though her volley sailed over the crossbar.
Then Alexis Bushey fired a bullet that glanced off crossbar and dropped straight down, Krebs able to recover to keep that shot from being the tying goal. That was the one shot that keeper Krebs admitted really scared her.
Marathon did have a couple of chances to add to its lead, including flicking a corner kick just wide of the mark. But most of the time the Olympians were busy thwarting the Knights.
More frustration arrived for Plattsburgh Seton when Kalle Bushey, a junior midfielder, sent a 25-yard curving shot that just skimmed past the far left post with 2:55 left to play.
This was not going to be the Knights’ night.
With the final minute winding down, sweeper McCarthy had to clear another ball away from the goal mouth and Krebs made a final save before punting the ball downfield, where play stayed before the final whistle enabled Marathon to breath one huge sigh of relief and engage in some joyous hugging.
These Interscholastic Athletic Conference Division III regular season champions, these Section 4 Class C tournament champions, now have the chance to add an even bigger prize to their glowing resume.
York 2, Stony Brook 0: The Section 5 champions grabbed a 1-0 lead on a breakaway goal by Jenna Carson 10 minutes into the game. Insurance arrived in the second half when Kelsey Leach headed home a shot at the 9:11 mark as York breezed into the finals.
Marathon 1, Plattsburgh Seton 0
Plattsburgh Seton 0 0 — 0
Marathon 1 0 — 1
Goals-Assists: Marathon- Rachel Parker 1-0, Lindsey Peri 0-1
Shots: Plattsburgh Seton 17, Marathon 4
Penalty Corners: Plattsburgh Seton 9, Marathon 2
Saves: Demi Pellerin (P) 2, Brittney Krebs (M) 8
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