Any time the Marcellus and Westhill girls soccer teams gather, it's bound to be memorable in some way, since they have monopolized Section III Class B for the last 15 years.
In the case of Wednesday night's 2-1 victory by the Mustangs over the Warriors, it was how a pair of quick Marcellus strikes, combined with a solid and efficient defense, led to road success.
This was the first time Marcellus and Westhill had met since last year's Class B final, which ended 0-0 with co-champions, the Warriors moving on to the state playoffs because it won the penalty-kick shoot-out.
And though a lot of personnel had changed, the stakes remained high, as the Mustangs and Warriors had spent the first half of the regular season racing to the top of the OHSL Liberty division standings again.
They met on a night with a playoff atmosphere - as in chilly temperatures in the 40s and infrequent rain, a good hint of what would be waiting at season's end.
All the Marcellus players and coaches wore black armbands in honor of high school mathematics teacher Jody Karla, who passed away Saturday at the age of 32.
Going in, the consensus was that the key battle would be between high-scoring Westhill forward Kelly Ristoff and a stingy Mustang defense.
Yet it was Marcellus striking first, just 3:28 into the game on its first formal attack. Kim Duck took the ball at midfield, raced down the right side, then struck a perfect 25-yard shot just inside the right post and past Westhill goalie Meredith Rice.
Throughout the first half, Marcellus clung to the 1-0 lead with that defense. Erin Walter followed Ristoff, while Jessie Manahan, Christa Rockburn, Megan Tice and Annie Dailey forced Westhill into long, low-percentage shots that goalie Megan Tock could handle.