LIVERPOOL — The Marathon boys’ varsity soccer team is heading to Middletown for the second straight season.
Cameron Neilson scored three goals and added one assist as the Section 4 champion Olympians dominated Section 3 champion Poland 5-0 in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Central Region Class D championship game Saturday at Liverpool High School.
Marathon (18-0-1 overall) will face Section 5 champion Fillmore, a 3-0 winner over Section 6 champion North Collins, in the NYSPHSAA semifinals this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the Faller Field turf at Middletown High School.
It is the ninth High School Soccer regional championship for Marathon.
“We did a great job in all phases of the game from defending to possession and finishing,” Marathon coach Chip Stewart said.
Stewart recognized the play of Jared O’Shea for his defensive work on Poland’s top scorer Kade Ozog.
“It was a very physical battle and Jared did a great job of winning the ball and playing positional defense,” Stewart said. “I thought we did a great job in the midfield as both Diego Castellot and Cam Morrison continually applied pressure and kept Poland on their heels.”
Marathon applied the pressure from the opening whistle and Poland goalkeeper Connor Broadbent was up to the challenge as he made nine first half saves. The Olympians broke the ice with 15 minutes left in the first half as Diego Castellot found the goal. Castellot got control of the ball 30 yards out, beat two defenders and delivered a left-footed shot into the lower right corner of the goal.
Two minutes later, Castellot sent a bending ball around a defender that Neilson ran to and fired into the lower right corner of the goal for a 2-0 cushion.
Neilson scored his second goal with 2:27 left in the first half with a shot just inside the right post from the right side of the box and Marathon took a 3-0 lead into the halftime break.
Despite heading into the wind in the second half, Marathon continued to possess the ball and control play. Neilson completed his hat trick seven minutes into the half for his 37th goal of the season, one short of tying Ray Marsh’s single season record of 38 goals set in 1979. Braeden Morrison assisted on the play.
Trent O’Neill continued his post-season scoring with the funal Olympian goal with 16 minutes remaining in the game. Neilson got the assist on O’Neill’s goal.
Marathon took 19 shots, 14 in the first half, and had six corner kicks. Poland (17- 4) had three shots, all in the second half, and one corner kick. Broadbent fonished the game with 11 saves. Kenyon DePuy made two saves for the Olympians as Marathon recorded its 14th shutout of the season. Marathon has allowed just one post-season goal.
“Jared O’Shea, Joey Hulbert, Owen Hoyt and Andrew Tillotson continued to frustrate any offensive pushes,” Stewart said.
Following the Marathon-Fillmore game will be the second Class D semifinal as Section 7 champion Chazy meets Section 9 champion Mount Academy at 4 p.m. on the Faller Field turf. The NYSPHSAA Class D championship game is Sunday at 1 p.m. on the Faller Field grass.