MARATHON – The Marathon Central boys’ soccer team opened defense of its Section 4 Class D Championship with a 4-0 victory over Edmeston Saturday in quarter final round action.
The top seeded Olympians (15-0-1 overall) scored the first goal before two minutes had elapsed and had a 3-0 lead with 16:15 left in the first half over the ninth seeded Panthers (9-8 overall).
Despite the win, Marathon head coach Chip Stewart was not totally happy with his team’s play.
“We dominated play, but it’s tough to play against a packed box,” Stewart said. “They had six guys back there in the box. They weren’t really looking for anything except maybe a counterattack or a mistake, especially after we scored the first goal. We couldn’t get any separation where we had some (open) areas. Our soccer IQ wasn’t as good as it needed to be. We had some poor decision making at times. We shot when we should have passed and passed when we should have shot. We can’t beat teams like Margaretville, Laurens or South Kortright if we play like we did today.”
Could that be attributed to the one week layoff since winning the IAC Small School Championship the previous Saturday at TC3?
“I don’t know about that,” Stewart replied. “We went and scrimmaged Greene. Maybe, but we have been here before. We haven’t always played great in this first game (of the tournament). We got up 3-0 and instead of some of the “we” we started looking at the “me” and some of those individual performances were not that good. Their defense did play good and their goalie played great in the second half, but we didn’t do enough to test him. We’re not even running the set pieces like we’re suppose to. We’ve got some things to clean up in the next couple of days.”
Marathon took a 1-0 lead 1:23 into the match when Trent O’Neill drove the end line and used a heel kick to beat Edmeston starting goalkeeper Garrett Lum.
The Olympians continued to keep the ball in their offensive third, but took it some time before getting their second goal. Lum made handful of saves, but other shots were just over the crossbar or wide as were a couple of headers off corner kicks.
With 18:05 left in the first half, Marathon made it 2-0. Braeden Morrison finished off a centering pass by O’Neill.
Two minutes later, Diego Castellot got a pass through to Cameron Neilson who found the back of the net with a solid strike on the ball.
Marathon had 11 shots and six corner kicks by halftime while Edmeston crossed the midfield line less than a dozen times in the half and rarely reached the box. The Panthers did not have a shot or corner kick. Lum had five saves in the first half.
The Olympians got their fourth goal in the first two minutes of the half. Freshman Bryce Bolton stepped into the Edmeston goal and the 5-foot tall keeper stopped the first shot he saw, but Ian Gacek tapped in the rebound for the 4-0 cushion.
Marathon fired 14 shots in the second half and Bolton stopped 10 of them. A few of his saves were impressive with a diving stop or a quick change of direction on a deflected ball, but a majority of the shots he saw were right at him and low.
The Olympians had four corner kicks in the second half for a total of 10 to go with their 25 shots.
Marathon will face fifth seed Margaretville (15-2), a 3-0 winner over fourth seed Laurens (13-2-1) Saturday. The semifinal match will take place Wednesday at the Wright National Soccer Campus (WNSC) in Oneonta at 3:30 p.m. The other semifinal will feature second seed South Kortright (16-0-1) against third seed Cherry Valley-Springfield (15-2). South Kortright downed Schenevus 5-0 Saturday while CV-S beat Charlotte Valley 3-1. The Section 4 Class D Championship match will be Saturday back at WNSC. The time yet to be determined.