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Center Moriches tops Mustangs in finals

No one doubted that the Marcellus boys soccer team was tough -- but it was just not quite tough enough to win its second state Class B championship to match the crown it won in 2005.

The Mustangs (19-2-1) fell 1-0 to Section XI's Center Moriches in the Class B state finals Nov. 22 at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta.

T.J. Thompson scored the lone goal with 23:05 remaining in the game to give the Red Devils their first state title in school history. Thompson picked up the ball on the left side, firing it pass diving keeper Jon Quick.

Center Moriches' defense held off the pressuring Mustangs' offense in the final minutes to hold onto the shutout.

"So few teams get this far," head coach Jennifer Griffin said. "Of course, you want to win it all and you hope it all comes together for you. It just didn't come together for us."

The two squads were evenly matched throughout much of the first half, each just missing out on opportunities by inches. For the Mustangs, Luke McNaney was cut off by the Red Devils' defense on a quick approach and then Center Moriches came up with a big save off a Mustangs' corner.

James Whelan created a chance for the Red Devils midway into the half but the shot went just wide.

As the clock wound down in the first half, Center Moriches' pressure began to increase and Marcellus fell back onto its heels.

"We didn't really get our attack going the way it normally does today," Griffin said. "We struggled to get our transition game going, to get our attack going. That, to me, would summarize our struggle."

Center Moriches' opened the second half with just as much pressure, forcing Quick (four saves) to tip a free kick shot over the bars three minutes in.

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