Just in time, Kathryn Busa rescued the Marcellus girls soccer team - and moved them within one victory of a third state Class B championship.
Busa's pair of goals in a four-minute span late in regulation allowed the Mustangs to stun Center Moriches, 2-1, in Friday morning's state semifinal at Homer High School. With that, Marcellus advanced to face Bronxville (who beat Greece Odyssey 3-0) in Saturday's final at SUNY-Cortland. Game time for the final will be 9 a.m.
This late surge from Busa, the junior midfielder, just added to what has been a post-season run full of big plays on her part.
"Kathryn has stepped up," said head coach Laurie Updike. "When she plays within herself, she comes up with those (big) plays."
This latest - and most important - display of clutch ability began with barely seven minutes left and the Mustangs down 1-0. A long pass off a Center Moriches player found its way to Busa, sprinting down the right side all alone. Taking possession of the ball, Busa dribbled, then drilled a point-blank shot past Red Devils goalie Kelsey Glanzman to tie the game 1-1.
After Center Moriches had several runs that proved unsuccessful, Busa delivered the winning goal with 3:04 left. Again, Busa broke open down the right side, with Jessie Nye sprinting up the center.
Instead of passing to the middle, as Glanzman anticipated, Busa, from 30 yards out, delivered a hard shot between Glanzman and the right post that crashed into the net, causing bedlam among the players - and Marcellus fans that woke up early to drive down to Homer.
These were the same kind of runs Marcellus made in the game's opening minutes to move in front. When they didn't work, Center Moriches, the Long Island regional champions, settled down and spent long periods of time in the Mustangs' end.