So the post-season had not begun when the Marcellus girls soccer team welcomed Westhill to its brand-new home turf last Thursday night.
It only felt that way.
With the OHSL Liberty division championship on the line, the Mustangs endured fierce weather conditions and a fiercer opponent to beat the Warriors, 2-0, and give itself a full dose of momentum going into the Section III Class B playoffs.
The extensive soccer history between Marcellus and Westhill is well-chronicled, and recent chapters included two 0-0 games decided by penalty-kick shootouts -- one in last year's playoffs, the other in September at a tournament in Oneonta.
More recently, Marcellus had suffered a 2-0 defeat at Westhill on Sept. 26, though that took place while 11 Mustang players sat out a four-game suspension for violations of the school's code of conduct.
They were all back now, and burning to get back at the Warriors. And no amount of precipitation was going to prevent this payback.
Approximately 15 minutes before the game, the skies opened up, and the volume of rain only seemed to pick up as the game got underway, hampering both teams as they attempted to establish the tempo.
The downpour was augmented at the 25-minute mark by a gusty wind from the north, only adding to the adversity. Facing both the wind and the rain, the Mustangs maintained its pressure.
And in the 32nd minute, the Mustangs took a 1-0 lead when Megan Kaminska, off a feed from Deana Melnyczuk, flung a low shot that got under the wind and rain and beat Westhill goalie Lauren Snyder.
Not long after that, with 4:36 left in the first half, both teams were sent off the field due to lightning in the area. A half-hour later, the game resumed with the volume of rain far less than it was before.