ONEONTA — The top-seeded Marathon boys soccer team had their fair share of opportunities, but they struggled to find the net as they fell to the No. 4 Cherry Valley-Springfield Patriots, 4-1, in the semifinals of the NYSPHSAA Section IV Class D tournament Thursday at Wright National Soccer Campus.
Marathon dominated possession for a majority of the game, outshooting Cherry Valley 16-9 with eight corner kicks to the Patriots seven. The Olympians simply could not convert on their chances while the Patriots did and that was the deciding factor of the game.
“They did everything they needed to do (Cherry Valley),” Marathon head coach Chip Stewart said. “Their two guys up front finished and ours did not.”
The Patriots got the scoring going early as Alan Parker scored in the 5th minute to give them an early 1-0 lead.
In the 28th minute, the lead was increased as Oskar Webster found the back of the net to put the pressure on the top-seeded Olympians, who found themselves down two goals at the halftime break.
In the 47th minute, Marathon finally got on the board. Bryce Howe found an opening and ripped a shot off the post that rebounded to teammate Jacob Byron who scored to make it 2-1.
The Patriots did not let the goal phase them, however, and just a minute later, Will Heinrich broke free from the defense and beat Marathon keeper Julian Spizzirri to make it 3-1.
“We did what we needed to do, we scored within the first 10 minutes and then they answered the bell,” Stewart said. “That was the momentum swinger.”
In the 56th minute, Byron got his head on the ball off an Olympians corner, which hit the goal post and went straight down but did not cross the line. The referee ruled it a no goal and the score remained 3-1.
Over the next 15 minutes, Marathon would have a number of good looks. But whether it was a normal shot, a volley or a header, the Olympians could not convert. Many of the looks barely missed the net or were saved by Patriots keeper Gavin Valenta, who played an exceptional game.
Heinrich scored again in the 71st minute to seal the deal for the Patriots, who moved onto the championship game with a 4-1 victory.
“The second half we played really well and we should have had seven goals I think,” Stewart said. “Their goalie played well. Sometimes we had very poor decisions and touches in the box. We didn’t move the ball quick enough at times where it needed to be.”
The Olympians finished their season with a 10-3-3 record, a division title and a tie for the IAC league title. Many would look at this as a very successful season despite falling in the sectional tournament.
“I personally think we overachieved,” Stewart said. “I didn’t see us winning the division, let alone tying
for the league.”
Marathon loses a strong senior class after this season, which included Braeden Morrsion, who won a state championship as well as an all-state team honor during his time with the program. The Olympians are full of youth, however, and look forward to bouncing back next season.
“The hardest part is we’re losing the senior class which really worked hard this year,” Stewart said. “That’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but it’s a character day. Younger players have got to learn from it. They’ve got to work a little harder in the off-season and do some things to get better.”
No. 8 Central Valley Academy at No. 1 Homer, 7 p.m.
Moravia at Groton, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Southern Hills at No. 2 General Brown, 7 p.m.
No. 5 Cortland at No. 4 Oswego, 6 p.m.