Nov 15, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Repeating as Section III Class B champions would require the Skaneateles boys soccer team to upend its closest rival.
But in a turnaround from what took place in the regular season, Marcellus got the upper hand — or upper foot, since this is soccer — in the one meeting that mattered most, beating the Lakers 2-1 in the Class B final last Tuesday night at West Genesee High School.
Going in, the Lakers had to feel the most confidence, even if it carried the no. 5 seed to the Mustangs’ no. 2 seed.
The two neighbors had met twice in the regular season. After a power outage cut short a 1-1 game in Marcellus on Sept. 9, the Lakers dominated the Oct. 1 rematch in Skaneateles, winning by a 3-1 margin.
The Mustangs had not lost since, including a pair of convincing playoff wins over Lowville (4-0) and Westhill (3-1). Faced with a more difficult playoff path, Skaneateles won at Mount Markham 2-1 in the quarterfinals, then blanked top seed Clinton 2-0 on Nov. 4 to reach the title game.
Six days later, a large crowd gathered in Camillus to witness some history — namely, the first Marcellus-Skaneateles sectional boys soccer final since 1985. Either the Lakers were going to win back-to-back titles, or the Mustangs would earn its third championship in five years.
Unlike in October, the Lakers would not jump in front early, though it had a great chance 1:30 into the game as Ryan Farrell’s close-up shot got tipped over the net by Mustangs goalie Jon Quick.
From there, the two sides settled down, mostly probing through the first half as the familiarity with each other led to a deadlock.
But in the 32nd minute, Marcellus broke the deadlock. Keith White’s hard shot from the point hit the right post, but Jon Schoonmaker swooped in and hit a low rebound past Jake Bird, putting the Mustangs up 1-0.
The Lakers stayed patient and, 5:30 into the second half, tied it when Quick rushed out of the net on a Skaneateles attack – and Bryan Stokes-Cawley poked a low shot past Quick into the unoccupied net.
Moments later, the Lakers nearly went in front, as Spencer Parker took a hard shot from the left that glanced off the post.
Marcellus then got the single break it needed, in the 51st minute, when the Lakers committed a foul inside the 18-yard box, leading to a penalty kick. White took the shot, and though Bird guessed right, the shot still flew past him and found the right side of the net.
Skaneateles again tried to answer, but kept running into a Mustang defense that, gradually, pulled back to withstand everything the Lakers would attempt.
With 10:20 left, Skaneateles’ Jeff Baldetti broke in up the middle alone with a point-blank chance to tie it. Seeing this, Quick came way out of the net and pushed the ball away before Baldetti could take a shot, and bought time for the Mustang defenders to get back and clear the ball out of danger.
Skaneateles finished at 15-4-1 and will see nine seniors depart, including Bird, Stokes-Cawley, Kyle Baier, Mark Cannuciari and Kelly Donigan. Many stars, like Parker, Mike Richards, Kevin Rice, Jeff Higman, Ryan Farrell, A.J. Richichi and Zach Brownlee, will return in 2010.