DRYDEN — It was a banner day for the Marathon boys’ and Groton girls’ soccer teams Saturday at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
After two straight 1-1 ties with Trumansburg for the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Small School Championship over the past two seasons, the Olympians will not share the championship in 2019. Cameron Neilson and Trent O’Neill scored second half goals to lift Marathon to a 2-0 victory over the Blue Raiders and an outright title.
The Groton girls got two goals Natalia Bell as the Indians were 4-0 winners over Odessa-Montour for their IAC Overall Small School Championship.
Marathon boys 2, Trumansburg 0:
“It’s become quite a rivalry over the past three years,” Neilson said. “We wanted to get it done. I know I wanted to win and keep everybody motivated. Winning a title never gets old. I think it gets better every time you win it.”
“It’s been a while after two straight ties in this game,” Marathon coach Chip Stewart said. “We both (Stewart and Trumansburg coach Jason Hodge) said someone was going to win today. We had the better opportunities. We did a good job of marking Connor (Baird). He is such a difficult task. We limited his touches.
“The defense we have right now is playing very well,” he continued. “Andrew Tillotson is doing a great job at sweeper. Kenyon (DePuy) is playing well in goal. Nick (Allen) before he got hurt was doing some good things.The same with Joey Hulbert. The entire back four are outstanding and Kenyon not having to make a save today. This team is a good group. They are cohesive. They are a lot of fun to be with. We’ve got a post-season run we want to make now.”
Marathon (14-0-1 overall) had a couple of good scoring chances in the first half, but Trumansburg goalkeeper Richard Prosser (seven saves) was up to the task. With 4:15 left in the first half, Prosser punched a shot by Evan Larrabee over the cross- bar and one minute later the Olympians had two close ranges shots denied by Prosser and the half ended in a 0-0 tie. The Olympian defense did not allow a Trumansburg shot in the first half.
The Blue Raiders got their only shot off early in the second half, but it was wide of the mark.
After Diego Castellot had a shot stopped by Prosser, Marathon finally found a way to get on the scoreboard.
A foul was called on the left flank which set-up a free kick. Braeden Morrison sent the ball high towards the far right post. Neilson won the ball and headed the ball into the upper right corner of the goal for a 1-0 Olympian lead.
“Diego and I were talking before the kick,” Neilson said. “He was he was being marked so he wanted me to sneak down and attack the ball. That’s what we did and we came out on top.”
Both teams earned some corner kicks the rest of the way, but the Olympians generated the better scoring chances. Prosser made the stops for the Blue Raiders and the Olympian defenders were so strong that Kenyon DePuy didn’t have a save in the Marathon goal and that one wide shot was the only shot for Trumansburg compared to 12 shots by Marathon. Each team did have seven corner kicks.
The final Marathon shot came when O’Neill got behind the Trumansburg defense as everyone was pressing forward for the Blue Raiders in an attempt to tie the game. O’Neill took the ball into the open and sent the ball towards the empty goal. It had just enough speed to cross the goal line as the clock hit :00. The officials said the ball crossed the line before the horn sounded and the final score was 2-0 as the Olympians celebrated.
“I’ve never seen Trent O’Neill run so fast,” Stewart chuckled. “We did play a nice game today. Jason has a good team and they are going to do some damage in sectionals. I congratulate them on an outstanding season so far.”
While Trumansburg (12-4) will concentrate on Section 4 Class C opponents, Marathon is the top seed in Class D. The Olympians have a first round bye and will face the winner of Milford-Edmeston Saturday.
Groton girls 4, Odessa-Montour 0:
Groton (11-3) came flying out of the gate and played much of the first half in the Odessa-Montour defensive third of the field. It was only the outstanding play of goalkeeper Grace VonDracek (10 saves) that kept Groton off the scoreboard until the 23:11 mark of the first half. Bell found an opening and scored off the one-touch into the lower left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead. Lauren Reeves assisted on the goal.
“It was a great win today,” Bell said.”It’s a good sign before sectionals. It was good to get the first goal of the game because it has a lot to do with how the rest of the 80 minutes go. The first goal is the most important goal.”
Groton took 11 shots in the first half while holding Odessa-Montour (9-7) to no shots.
The Indians began to pull away in the second minute of the second half when Kate Allen hit a little chip shot over VonDracek for the 2-0 cushion. Bell netted her second goal with 27:45 remaining on another shot inside the left post. Annie Felko took a pass from Reeves with 23:03 left in the game and delivered a high shot just under the crossbar for the 4-0 final.
“Natalia has scored a couple of goals this year and we want her to look for her shot,” Groton coach Dick Brecht said. “It was nice to see some other kids score today. Natalia took advantage of her space today.
“Teams worry about Lauren out there,” he added. “That gave our midfielders some space and we took advantage of it.”
Groton held an 18-1 advantage in shots and an 8-2 edge in corner kicks. Elisa Allen did not make a save as the only Odessa-Montour shot was wide of the goal.
“I was really happy with our midfield play today,” Brecht said. “Usually when you shut a team out, you’re happy with your defense. Our midfielders are part of our defense. We have a freshman (Elise Allen) in goals and she does a great job back there. We return a defense that allowed just nine goals last year and it’s still just 12 this year.”
Groton is the third seed will host sixth seed Odessa-Montour Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the Section 4 Class C quarter finals. It will be the third meeting between the two teams. Groton posted a 4-1 win over O-M Sept. 6 in their second game of the season.
“It’s really just another game,” Bell said. “It’s normal for us to have back-to-back games with the same team.”
“This the third time in the past four years we have done this,” Brecht said. “The first two years it was Spencer-VanEtten/Candor. Last year it was Watkins Glen, but they went to Delhi and we know how that turned out.”
Watkins Glen lost that game at Delhi while continued on its run in the Section 4 Tournament by beating Delhi.