WG stuns Liverpool; Westhill advances

On a wet and windy Friday afternoon, two local girls soccer teams moved ahead in the Section III playoffs with 2-1 victories -- one conventional, the other shocking and unexpected.

Westhill handled the conventional part, holding off Cazenovia in a tense Class B quarterfinal and avoiding the early exit that plagued so many other long-time powers in the early rounds.

But West Genesee's win over Liverpool in the Class AA quarterfinals was stunning on many different levels, from the way the two teams had played during the season to the way the game unfolded, with a complete turnaround at the end.

Liverpool, the no. 3 seed, had gone 12-3-1 during the season, including a home win over West Genesee on Sept. 29. By contrast, the Wildcats were 8-5-2 and, while a solid squad, had given little indication it was close to knocking off the established favorites once the AA playoffs got underway.

Sure enough, in the first half against Liverpool, WG found itself in a defensive mode most of the time, just trying to hang on in the face of steady rain, a gusty south wind and a steady Liverpool attack.

Midway through the half, Liverpool went up, 1-0, on Alison Flood's goal fed by a pass from the left by Julia Bruno. WG had one good chance during the half, a run by Mel Murphy that Warriors goalie Noel Peck stopped by racing out to catch the ball before Murphy could flick it past her.

Despite a lot of chances, though, the Warriors couldn't add to that 1-0 margin, giving WG a glimmer of hope as the rain let up in time for the second half.

Sure enough, with the wind at its back, the Wildcats' chances improved, and with Moriah Saidel recording 10 saves and a second-half shutout, there was time to catch up, at least.

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