Oct 28, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the third straight week, the Westhill girls soccer team found itself on the same field as Manlius-Pebble Hill — only this encounter meant the most.
The no. 4 seed Warriors and no. 5 seed Trojans gathered last Friday in the Section III Class B playoff quarterfinals, this after a split of their regular-season meetings on Oct. 6 (won by MPH 1-0) and Oct. 18 (won by Westhill 5-3 in overtime).
And the bracket had opened up, since the tournament’s top two seeds, Lowville and Clinton, both had been ousted on Thursday — the Raiders by Watertown IHC, the Warriors by Cazenovia.
Knowing all this, Westhill stayed patient through a long, tense defensive battle before some timely goals down the stretch produced a 2-0 victory over the Trojans.
All through the first half, MPH dictated the flow of play. On one side, it dribbled and forced Westhill into a defensive mode, while many different times it forced offside traps to keep the Warriors from staging too many attacks.
Still, it went to the second half 0-0, and stayed that way for a while. Slowly, though, the Warriors’ deeper, more experienced lineup began to exert itself, organizing attacks and waiting for just the right break.
That came when MPH goalkeeper Katie Shaw batted away a shot that looked to be going wide, giving Westhill a corner kick. With 11:04 to play, Valerie Golembiewski hit it to the middle, and Kelly Ristoff timed it just right, flinging a shot past Shaw to put the Warriors in front 1-0.
Not content with that, Westhill kept pushing and, less than three minutes later, got the insurance goal when Sam Marshall took a well-timed pass from Ristoff and hit it past the charging Shaw into the net.
Getting there was simple enough for the Warriors, who began sectional play with a 5-0 romp over no. 12 seed Mount Markham in last Tuesday’s opening round.
After taking some time to adjust to cold and wet conditions, the Warriors took over in the second half, constantly pushing shots past an overmatched Mustangs defense.
Ristoff, in particular, ran wild, as the freshman landed two goals and two assists. Sam Marshall picked up one goal and one assist, as Carly Cooper and Chelsey Cisternino each scored, too. Ellie Radin added an assist.
Following that, and the win over MPH, Westhill geared up for Tuesday’s Class B semifinal (weather permitting) at Corcoran against Watertown IHC, who had stunned top seed Lowville to get to this point. The winner faces Marcellus or Cazenovia Friday night at Chittenango for the Class B crown