For much of the last decade and a half, the Westhill and Marcellus girls soccer teams have engaged in a constant tug-of-war for Section III Class B supremacy.
Since 1995, either the Mustangs or Warriors have won 13 out of 14 sectional championships, with six outright championships apiece. And the two sides shared the title a season ago, though Westhill moved on to the state playoffs because it prevailed in the penalty-kick shoot-out after a 0-0 stalemate in the final itself.
Whether their domination continues in 2009 is an open question -- but both powers got off to ideal starts in their respective Sept. 4 openers.
Westhill took aim at Manlius-Pebble Hill and, despite having 10 new starters in the lineup, dismissed the Trojans in a 4-0 shutout.
The likes of Mackenzie Rainone, Carly Cooper, Shannon Flattery, Valerie Golembiewski, Bridget Dwyer and Lauren Wolfe are gone, so the Warriors simply plugged in fresh faces everywhere and kept on winning.
Brenna Rainone led the push, scoring twice as Westhill raced to a 3-0 halftime lead. Emily Haggerty and Lindsey Lippert also scored, with Kelli Wolfe and Kelly Ristoff earning assists. A stout Warrior defense held MPH to just one shot all afternoon.
As this was going on, Marcellus, with its own set of lineup changes, hosted Jordan-Elbridge and took the Eagles apart in an 8-0 rout.
Though stars like Kate Gosson, Lyssa Filtch, Jenna Sniffen and Marissa Bankey have graduate, the Mustangs have five starters back in '09, and those veterans helped Marcellus pull in front of J-E 6-0 by the time they reached the half.
Kathryn Busa backed up her two goals with three assists, while Chelsea Tarolli also found the net twice. Samantha Vulcano, Leea Sinay, Rebecca Eddy and Nicole Dorio also converted, with Elizabeth Zimmer and Lizzy Dean adding assists.
In its opener, Bishop Ludden fell to Faith Heritage 2-1, as Grace Rooney scored her team's only goal off feeds from Shelby Hunter and Kim Balla. Meaghan McGrath had seven saves.