Kathryn Busa was a sophomore two seasons ago when the Marcellus girls soccer team shared the Section III Class B championship with rival Westhill, only to get denied entry into the state tournament via a penalty kick shoot-out.
"I remember crying for days after that," Busa said.
Well, those tears turned into cheers - and lots of smiles - for Busa and her fellow Mustangs Friday night at SUNY-Cortland as it beat those same Westhill Warriors 3-1 to earn its first outright sectional championship since 2007.
And it was Busa, along with freshman teammate Brielle Filtch, who made the difference after they combined on both of the Mustangs' goals in the second half that accounted for the final margin.
The task facing coach Laurie Updike and her Marcellus players was a tall one - beat a second straight opponent for a third time this season, just as it had done getting past Skaneateles 3-0 in the semifinals. Westhill, after two defeats to the Mustangs, was bent on breaking the Mustangs' hearts again.
Aggressive from the start, Marcellus quickly grabbed a 1-0 lead. Just 6:38 into the game, Nicole Dorio's corner kick lofted to the middle - and Jessie Nye perfectly timed her leap, heading the ball past Sam Peebles into the top right corner of the net.
From there, though, the Mustangs gradually saw Westhill pick up its attack. And it had a series of good runs late in the half, making Marcellus sufficiently worried, even though it still had that 1-0 lead at the break.
"We knew we had to come out and get a goal," Busa said. "We knew one goal was not going to be enough."
As if on cue, just 57 seconds into the second half Busa, from the right side, fed a ball to the middle, where Filtch sneaked in her foot and banged it past Peebles, extending the Mustangs' lead to 2-0.