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November 19, 2007

 

Marathon stickers keep the title

Knapp’s OT goal decides Class C final

Marathon

Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Marathon field hockey player Tessa Knapp leaps into the arms of teammate Hannah Griep (15) seconds after Knapp scored the game winning goal in sudden death overtime against Warrensburg. Marathon won the NYS Class C field hockey championship Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

CICERO — The drought had only been two games, but Marathon Central junior Tessa Knapp had been feeling the pressure.
The Olympian senior had scored 26 goals headed into the Section 4 final, but she had been shutout in regional and state semifinal action.
Knapp had one final chance and delivered with 4:33 left in overtime to lift Marathon to a 1-0 victory over a determined Warrensburg team from Section 2 in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C Field Hockey Championship game Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The Olympians (22-1) repeated as state champions for the third time and claimed their eighth championship overall.
Knapp won a ball from Lindsay Cameron near midfield, split two more defenders and slid a shot past Burgers’ goalkeeper Drew Lamy for the game-winner. The 27th goal of the season was by far her biggest.
“There was a lot going through my mind at that moment,” said Knapp. “I saw her (the goalkeeper) in front of me and said this is it. I made a couple of dodges, took the shot, and there it was, in the goal.
“I knew we could do it in the seven-on-seven,” Knapp added. “We have the skills. All we had to do was put our minds to it.”
“I reminded Tessa at the end of regulation time that if you get a one-on-one with the keeper, she is a sophomore and you are the experienced player,” said Marathon coach Karen Funk. “It is funny that it came down to that.
“My 11 starters and the subs that came off the bench kept us in this game,” Funk continued. “I kept telling the girls that defense wins championships. If the other team does not score, you win. I also reminded them of the Vestal game and that is you can have all the stats in the world, but the goals are the only stat that matter.”
Forget four big showdowns with East Rochester, this is the second meeting between Marathon and Warrensburg and the second 1-0 overtime win for the Olympians. It was the same result in the 2002 regional final at SUNY Oneonta.
“This team never back away from us,” said Funk of Warrensburg. “We outran them, but they never backed down from us. Warrensburg played us right up to the final whistle. I give them all the credit in the world for coming to the state championship game and giving it all they had. There was no intimidating that team.
“There was some frustration on our (penalty) corners,” Funk added. “We were taking shots from the top of the circle. I felt that if we worked the ball inside more, we would have gotten a more accurate shot. The girls knew they were not capitalizing on the corners. I felt very good when we went into overtime because we have the speed and the skills.”
MARATHON HAD SIX penalty corners in the first half and seven more in the second half to go with 18 shots, but nothing went in, thanks in part to the stellar play of Lamy (11 saves).
The most spectacular play by the sophomore keeper was a diving save at the end of a four-shot sequence. Lamy dove backwards and swept the fourth shot off the goal line to keep the shutout intact.
“She (Lamy) played an outstanding game,” said Warrensburg coach Mary Ann Bump. “ She was unhappy about giving up the goal in overtime, but I told her she made some great saves in regulation time or the game would have been over a lot earlier. She is only a sophomore and she is only going to get better. She plays like she is six-foot-five and she is only five-feet tall.
“We played with everything we had and left it all of the field,” Bump continued. “That is all I could ask of my girls. It was a great game. We have some good kids for the seven-on-seven, but Marathon got the key possessions and we never really got a chance in their circle.”
“Their goalie did an outstanding job,” Funk stated. “I thought that, because she was a sophomore, if we kept hammering her with shot after shot, the pressure would get to her.”
In the overtime, Marathon went on the attack quickly. The Olympians had back-to-back penalty corner opportunities in the third minute, but both shots was stopped of defender Mallory Brainard. Knapp finally won the ball from Lindsay Cameron before making the final dash through the other two Warrensburg defenders for the winning shot.
Marathon goalkeeper Roni Allen had another quiet day with no saves as the only real Warrensburg shots were wide of the cage. For the three-year starter, it was the 14th shutout of her senior season.
“I really was not surprised that we went to overtime,” said Allen. “They have a really good defense and a very good goaltender. We had our chances, but could not connect. It was an awesome game and I give Warrensburg a lot of credit.
“It feels great to win two state titles,” Allen added. “The feeling is the same for me this year as it was last year. I am playing with my friends. I am mad that it is my senior year, but maybe I can help out in other ways. I hope the team is back here next year. It is hard that this was my final game. It really did not sink in until now because the game is over.”
“I really was not surprised that we went to overtime,” said Allen. “They have a really good defense and a very good goaltender. We had our chances, but could not connect. It was an awesome game and I give Warrensburg a lot of credit.”
ANOTHER SENIOR was Whitney Stephens, she tolled away all season on the back line helping junior Kelley Braman and sophomores Kendra Root and Chelsea Wood become a solid defensive group that allowed just 12 goals in 22 games.
“It is a blessing from God, I really believe that,” said Stephens. “It is a great feeling to have two state titles now. I had a lot of faith in our forwards in overtime. They have a lot of speed. I really was not that nervous. This whole group really bonded well in the beginning of the season when we had a campout together.”
For Coach Funk, this is the first title with this team, but for the veteran coach, it is title number eight and win number 411 in her career.
“What an amazing record we have had,” said Funk, whose teams have 150 wins, four losses, and five state titles from 2001-2007. “I could tell you everything about those four losses. The amazing part for me is that I have been here eight times and brought eight teams back home as state champions. I love that because it means eight teams got to experience this. Winning eight titles is nice, but this team winning is the icing on the cake.”

 

 

 

Union bowled over by Dragons

By ALAN BUTLER
Sports Editor

Considering all is well that ends well, SUNY Cortland had to be pleased with the conclusion of this football season.
The Red Dragons wrapped things up with a 23-7 victory over Union College in an ECAC Northeast Bowl game post-season appearance, thanks to a defense that was a bright spot on this gray and chilly Saturday afternoon.
Junior defensive end Ben Nagle was named the game’s most valuable player after coming up with four sacks and forcing three Union fumbles. The tenacious 6-foot-4, 230-pounder out of Rochester Aquinas was in on nine tackles overall for the Red Dragons.
Junior tailback Andrew Giuliano rushed for 138 yards including the go-ahead touchdown late in the first half on a fourth down gamble from the Union 2-yard line. It was the best offensive outing for Giuliano since breaking loose for 247 yards in a season-opening romp past Morrisville.
Still, this ECAC victory — Cortland’s first post-season win since 2002 — was not a thing of beauty. Both sides combined for 13 turnovers, and the Red Dragons were whistled for a dozen penalties to make things harder on themselves before the smallest gathering of this season at the SUNY Cortland Stadium Complex.
But eight wins against just three losses certainly looks awfully good to these New Jersey Athletic Conference regular season co-champions, especially considering the huge chunk of graduated players Coach Dan MacNeill and his Cortland staff had to replace off last year’s successful 9-2 squad.
“At the end of the day, it’s all positive,” Coach MacNeill would proclaim.
Being able to erase the bitter taste of last week’s 40-17 setback at Ithaca College in the annual Cortaca Jug game, a loss that cost Cortland a chance to be considered for the NCAA Division III playoffs, was nice, too.
“It’s a good feeling, especially for all of the seniors who get to go out with a win,” said MVP Nagle. “It feels a lot better than last week.”
“This team has always been able to bounce back,” added workhorse Giuliano after lugging the ball 31 times against a rugged Union defense. “That’s something we have instilled here, being able to get back up.”
The game was also a special occasion for two other Red Dragons, senior kicker Matthew Mintz and freshman linebacker Brian Haas.
Mintz kicked three field goals, giving him 12 on the season. That ties the school single season record previously shared by Mintz (who has that same number last season) and George Oostmeyer. He was 3-for-4 for the game, pushing a 36-yard attempt early in the third quarter just wide to the right.
Haas was in on team high 13 tackles, two forcing Union fumbles. That hiked his season tackle total to 105, Haas becoming the first Cortland freshman to surpass the century mark.

 

 

 

 

Gritty Olympians tripped up in final

By TOM VARTANIAN
Staff Writer

ONEONTA — Marathon Central boys were battered and bruised when they walked off Wilbur Bank Field Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C Soccer Championship match at the Wright National Soccer campus in Oneonta.
The 2007 Olympians (18-4-2 overall) were on the losing end of a 3-1 decision in the title showdown to Section 5 champion Red Creek (18-4-2), but there were lots of compliments from other coaches and officials who had watched the often-physical match.
The Olympians could also hold their heads up high after being the school’s first soccer team to reach the championship match.
“When we scored the goal to tie the game 1-1 before halftime, I thought we were in good shape with 40 minutes left to play,” said Marathon coach Chip Stewart. “We even had a chance to take the lead early in the second half when Eric Gofgosky put a shot on the side of the net with a shot he had won a game for us before.
“We just had the 10-minute stretch where we lost of composure or poise,” Stewart stated. “Red Creek took advantage of couple of situations. We tried to make some adjustments because is doesn’t matter if the final score is 2-1 or 5-1. We tried sliding up more, but they got that third goal. That is a very good Red Creek team. They were a little down after we tied the game, but we could not string together a couple of connecting passes. Their speed and touches were better than ours.”
The tone was set early on a couple of no calls by the officials. Jason Luce appeared to be pulled down Mules goalkeeper Eric Stevens (five saves) as the two raced for a loose ball in the first five minutes of the match. Luce could not get a shot off and Red Creek dodged a bullet.
Six minutes later, the Mules got on the board. Junior forward Ryan Fisher launched a 35-yard free kick from the left sideline into the upper right corner of the goal for a 1-0 Red Creek lead.
Less than one minute later, the Olympians were dealt another blow as senior Matt Doran was flattened by a hit from behind. Doran was down on the field for several minutes before being helped off the field with a deep gash over his left eye. Again, no call as some Red Creek players congratulated each other during the stoppage. Doran would return 20 minutes later and give the Olympians a spark.
“MATT WAS RESILIENT,” said Stewart. “We were more worried that he might have a concussion, but he didn’t. We even asked him if he wanted to leave the sidelines and go get some stitches, but he said he wasn’t going to leave.”
“I was not going to let my senior year end like that,” Doran stated. “The lady (trainer) patched me up and I went back in.”
“We got down, but we came back just like yesterday,” Doran added. “Once they got the second goal, the momentum really switched to their side. It is a bummer we lost, but we did make school history. I am proud of that.”