Many different kinds of pressure surround the Manlius-Pebble Hill boys soccer team as the Section III Class C playoffs get underway.
But at least the Trojans, still atop the state Class C rankings, do not have to carry the extra weight of having to protect an undefeated record - a direct result of last Thursday's 3-0 defeat to Westhill.
When MPH was still in the OHSL Liberty division, it met Westhill twice a season. Now it returned to get the taste of a Warrior squad that, at 10-3-1, stood second only to Skaneateles (another state no. 1-ranked team, in Class B) in the league.
From the start, it didn't turn out well. Jordan Gentile gave up two early goals, and though it had its own fair share of chances, MPH could not dent a tough Westhill defense.
All told, Gentile made eight saves, watching as three different Warrior players -Conor Powell, Anthony Scaravillo and Nate Chapin - accounted for the three goals.
Two days earlier, MPH's perfect 12-0 run through the OHSL Patriot division concluded at home against Bishop Grimes, where the Trojans had to fight hard to earn a 2-0 victory over the Cobras.
As they have done all season, the Trojans' defense, led by Tim Goldman, Alex Urist, Jimmy Gavigan and Ethan Rothschild, bottled up the opposition, limiting Grimes to four shots as goalie Jordan Gentile made a handful of key stops.
Meanwhile, Grimes goalie Mike Besbiaty made eight saves, but MPH scraped across one goal in each half. Mike Kardjian assisted on both of the goals - one scored by Goldman, the other by Jun Lee. The Cobras fell to 8-7 on the season.
Not wanting to be overshadowed too much, the MPH girls soccer team put a major scare into state-ranked Tully Monday night, but had to settle for a 1-0 defeat to the Black Knights.