Each of the Marcellus boys soccer players that came back for the 2009 season had to remember how the 2008 season ended far sooner than expected.
As defending Section III Class B champions a season ago, the Mustangs appeared to have the stuff for another long playoff run -- only to be stunned in the opening round of the playoffs by Homer on its own turf.
Determined not to let that happen again, Marcellus players plunged into off-season work and arrived for '09 fit, fresh -- and ready to roll again.
As a first test, the Mustangs went to the Chittenango Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament on Labor Day weekend and flattened both of its opponents.
First, Marcellus took out West Genesee 5-0, steadily putting pressure on the Wildcats' defense throughout the contest.
Keith White, in particular, found success, earning the first three-goal hat trick of his varsity career. Tom Glose and Cal Filtch also scored, with Luke McNaney and Jose Rodriguez-Doran both contributing assists.
A day later, Marcellus met Fulton, the defending Class A champions, and started slow -- but found itself in the second half to beat the Red Raiders 3-0.
All of the Mustangs' goals came after the break, with Glose, Rodriguez-Doran and Mike Tao taking turns finding the net. McNaney, Sean Dunn and Allan Donahoe each picked up one assist as Marcellus' aggression wore Fulton down and its defense held the Red Raiders to just four shots.
Meanwhile, WG lost the consolation game to Chittenango 3-1, only getting on the board when Steffanos Stimilaskas converted in the second half. Mike Koegel led the Bears, scoring twice.
A big test will come Tuesday night, when Marcellus gets its first shot at defending Class B champion Sknaeateles on home turf.