At Marcellus High School, they are used to winning soccer championships and playing deep into November.
Yet the Mustang teams had wildly contrasting starts on Labor Day weekend. On the girls side, Marcellus ripped Mexico 5-0 on Saturday, while the boys team, beginning the defense of its Section III Class B title, went 0-1-1 at the Chittenango Fall Classic.
In playing Mexico, the Marcellus girls took a few minutes to get itself back into game rhythm. But once Jessie Nye converted the season's first goal in the 14th minute, the Mustangs started to relax.
Marcellus took 30 shots to Mexico's two. Nye and Kathryn Busa each would find the net twice, while Brielle Fitch got the other goal. Elizabeth Zimmer, Jackie Epp and Becca Nolan each earned assists.
A day earlier at Chittenango, the boys soccer Mustangs, with nine new starters on the field and a new head coach (Mark Sunheimer, replacing Jennifer Griffin), got a tough opening assignment against three-time defending Class AA champion Baldwinsville.
Forced into a defensive mode for much of the day, the Mustangs only allowed one goal - by Frank Vecchio - but that made the difference in a 1-0 loss. Mitch Schoenbrun's nine saves kept the game close.
A day later, in the consolation game against host Chittenango, the Mustangs battled to a 2-2 tie with the Bears.
Behind 2-1 at the break, Marcellus tied it up in the second half, and kept it even. Nate Waite and Chad Johnson came up with the Mustangs' first goals of the season as Aaron Murphy made eight saves.
The boys Mustangs host Westhill Wednesday night before going to Bishop Ludden on Saturday. On the girls end, Marcellus goes to Hannibal, then hosts rival Skaneateles on Thursday and defending Class A champion Jamesville-DeWitt on Saturday.