Stepping away from its home turf for the first time this season, the Marcellus boys soccer team passed a major examination against a local power.
In the opening round of the Cicero-North Syracuse Optimist Tournament, the Mustangs met with the defending Section III Class AA champion Northstars -- and pulled out a huge victory, prevailing by a score of 1-0 at Gillette Field.
Kyle Blackmer provided a sensational performance in the net, stopping all 13 of the shots he faced against a steady CNS attack.
It remained scoreless until the second half, when Alex Rouse got open and put a shot past Northstars goalie Ryan Goettel, a goal that would hold up.
Following this, the Mustangs did not have a letdown in Saturday's championship game against Saratoga Springs, beating another Class AA opponent by a score of 2-1.
Rouse, named the tournament's MVP, landed both of his team's goals in the second half, as John Henry Jackson got credit for an assist. Each of Blackmer's six saves proved to be critical.
Two days before CNS, the Cazenovia Lakers did not make it simple for the Mustangs, either, as it made a spirited rally late in the second half before the Mustangs prevailed, 2-1, at the Sean Goggin Sports Complex on Fenner Road.
Alex Rouse took over in the first half. Twice, the Marcellus senior forward broke loose and put shots past Cazenovia goalie Colin Hill, with Joe Carelli earning an assist on one of the goals.
Up 2-0 at the break, Marcellus could not pull away, then watched as Cazenovia inched within a goal as Keith Stec converted off Chris Rogers' well-placed corner kick with 11 minutes left.
Still, the Mustangs held on and were 2-0 on the season -- a mark that would double by the time it left CNS.
Marcellus goes for five in a row Tuesday night when it hosts archrival Skaneateles, just before a Wednesday trip to Homer.