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November 17, 2008

 

Olympians secure share of state title

 

Soccer

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Shawna Hurlbert (11) of Marathonand McKenzie Clark (6) of York nix it up during Saturday’s Class C soccer title game at TC3. Teams were declared co-champions after playing to 0-0 overtime tie.

By TANEY BEAUMONT
Staff Writer

DRYDEN — Not bad for a five-year-old.
The Marathon Central girls’ soccer team, in just its fifth year of existence, earned a piece of the Class C state championship Saturday afternoon by playing York from Section 5 to a rain-soaked 0-0 overtime tie at Tompkins Cortland Community College that earned each squad a share of the crown.
“I wasn’t until the last 10 seconds (of the second and last five-minute sudden-death overtime), when Jeff Parker, my assistant, asked if I could handle us being co-champs, that it entered my mind,” Olympians coach Trish Hayes said, her team ending up 18-4-2 on the season. “From the beginning, we were going for the win.
“Paige McCarthy leads our defense every day. She’s my coach on the field, telling girls where to go and who to mark. She’s a 95-pound rock. And (goalkeeper) Brittney Krebs stepped it up today,” she added. “They’re both juniors, so they’ll both be back next season. And Brooke Winter-Potter (senior midfielder) did a good job on their go-to player, Jenna Carson (junior forward), who came in with 36 goals and is lightning-fast. Defense has been our focus all year. It wins championships.”
Krebs and the entire Marathon defense had to be sharp. York had a 17-4 shot advantage and piled up an amazing 14-1 advantage in corner kicks as orange-clad Olympian defenders were forced to clear balls out over the end line or had shots deflect off them and go out.
Krebs, who was named the game’s Outstanding Goalkeeper, made 10 saves in the contest, often punching the ball away after a Golden Knight corner kick, to four stops for York senior keeper Kaci MacIntyre. Junior Tonya Klein was in Golden Knights’ net for a brief period near the end of the second 10-minute overtime session after MacIntyre was flattened in a collision with a Marathon player, but didn’t face any shots.
As was the case in Friday evening’s 1-0 victory over Section 7’s Plattsburgh Seton Catholic, Marathon survived numerous close calls as York carried much of the play. The only shot to find the net in the contest, however, was scored by Olympians junior forward Shawna Hurlbert, who won a contested ball from a York defender but was ruled to have tripped her before rifling a shot past MacIntyre with 9:30 left in regulation.
“We did score but had it disallowed,” Hayes, the only varsity coach Marathon has ever had, said when the word ‘scoreless’ came up in post-game conversation. “I disagreed with the call. The official who called it was a little behind the play, and I had a little different angle. Shawna used her body and ran through the ball; plus it was wet, and people were falling all over. But it’s a call we have to live with.”
“IT’S LIKE A dream come true,” Krebs, who was also IAC Division II Keeper of the Year, said after she and her teammates had accepted their awards and posed for some parental picture-taking. “York is a good program, and we’re well-deserved co-champs. They were pretty lethal on their corner kicks. This was our goal from the beginning, and we worked hard to get here. It’s a great accomplishment.”
Marathon sophomore midfielder Rachel Parker and York’s Carson were named the game’s Outstanding Players. “We went from our first sectional win to states this year; it’s just amazing,” Parker said. “Everyone is a little disappointed; we wanted to have the glory for ourselves, but co-champs is pretty good. This team is so close; we have a really tight bond, because we’ve been playing together since we were five.”
“Hats off to Marathon,” said York coach Victor Van Vliet, whose team finished the season at 21-2-3. “They deserve it. We had our opportunities, but didn’t put the ball in the back of the net when we needed to.
“The longer the game was 0-0, the more pressure we were under. We have a lot of injuries; (senior midfielder) Kelsey Leach has a bad knee, and (senior midfielder) Abby Truax is just coming back off stress fractures to both shins. And one our best defenders at midfield, (senior) Becca Templeton, had been out since Oct. 7 with a foot injury and isn’t 100 percent.”
Marathon was also hobbled, senior midfielder Kelsey Peebles with a quadriceps injury while classmate and fellow midfielder Meghan McEvoy was on crutches on the sideline with an ankle injury she incurred in the win over Plattsburgh Seton.
York had the edge in state tourney experience, having won the C title outright in 2006 after losing it in overtime the year before. “We have two seniors, Jessalyn Gates and Kelsey Leach, who have been on all three teams,” Van Vliet said. “So in three of their four varsity seasons, they reached the state finals, which is remarkable. In a number of our post-season games that experience has helped us, but today it didn’t help us find the net.”
THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS came close a number of times, starting just 2:45 in when a cross from the right side by Carson went through the box before any of her teammates could get to it. Krebs made the save on a shot from close range in the left side by Carson 10 minutes into the contest, and Gates whistled a shot just wide to the right from 20 yards out on the left side 5:45 before halftime. York took six of its corner kicks in the first 15 minutes of the second half but couldn’t capitalize, but Marathon sophomore midfielder Lindsey Peri had the last good chance in regulation, sending one over MacIntyre but wide of the net off the left side with 3:15 left.
Two mandatory 10-minute overtime periods and two five-minute sudden-death frames didn’t solve anything either. The game ended as MacIntyre came out and just beat oncoming Hurlbert to a loose ball in front with 45 seconds left in the final extra session.
The co-championship wrote a fantastic ending to a super season for Marathon, which as Parker noted won its first-ever post-season contest this year en route to the Section 4 Class C crown and kept on going from there. The Olympians also claimed their third IAC Division III title this fall.
“This year a lot of the younger kids started reaching us,” Hayes said when asked about the keys to the success her team has enjoyed this fall. “They’ve been playing since they were five and are now reaching the varsity level. Jeff is the modified coach and does all the hard work; I just fine-tune them.
“It says a lot about our program that we hung with them in just our fifth year. Our captains, Peebles, Winter-Potter and McCarthy, have done a great job of leading the team all year long.”
And what advice would Hayes give to a coach starting a team from scratch? “You can do anything with girls who have a lot of heart and determination,” she said with a smile.
IN OTHER STATE finals played locally Saturday —
Section 1’s Rye, which beat Cortland High 4-2 in the Class A semifinals on Friday, ended the four-year title reign of Section 8’s Rockville Centre South Side with a 1-0 victory at TC3. Earlier at the same venue, Edmeston from Section 4 and Section 9’s S.S. Seward played to a 2-2 tie and were declared Class D co-champions.
In contests at Homer’s Butts Field, John Jay East Fishkill from Section 1 blanked Fairport from Section 5, 1-0, for the Class AA laurels prior to a 5-1 romp by Section 1’s Briarcliff over Livonia out of Section 5 with the Class B crown on the line.