MARATHON — Chip Stewart’s Marathon Olympians boys soccer squad will be tested in a big way if they want to win their 12th IAC championship in 13 seasons.
After winning the conference championship game 3-0 over Trumansburg in the spring, Stewart, who is entering his 34th season at the helm of the Olympians with a record of 441-154-39, currently has a roster of only 14 players, the smallest roster he has had in his tenure.
A combination of key players graduating (including Joey Hulbert, Evan Larabee and Trent Ensign), some players not returning to the team and a small underclass joining varsity means the Olympians will “have to avoid injuries and have the ball bounce our way,” according to Stewart.
“We will need to move players around to replace our graduated players and we need to figure out our best fit for keeper,” Stewart said. “I think our younger players will be fine as the season progresses and they learn our system of play.”
The key returners for Marathon are senior captain Braeden Morrison (11 goals last season, fifth-year varsity player, three-time all-star and all-state small school third teamer), junior Kaiden Cornell (first team allstar, team leader in goals with 13), sophomore Bryce Hartman, senior Ethan Morrison and sophomore Bode Carter.
Newcomers to the Olympians include sophomore defenders Brayden Homer and Julian Spizzirri. Stewart says that both of them “will have to step up soon and adapt to the speed of varsity level competition.”
“The team has good chemistry as of now and we do have Braeden,” Stewart said. “Offensively, we should be able to create chances to score, but we will see if our defense can give us those chances. Hopefully we can be in the hunt for the division, but more importantly, we want to qualify for sectionals and then who knows.”