Marcellus boys lacrosse rallies past Westhill

Maybe things are different for the Marcellus boys lacrosse team this time around.

Down by three goals early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday night's game against Westhill, the Mustangs took over with an inspired offensive surge that, by the end, had produced an 11-9 victory over the Warriors.

This moved the Mustangs to 3-0 on the young season, a clear sign that first-year head coach Leo McInerney's lessons are taking hold. And no win was better than this one, against a Westhill side that reached the Section III Class B semifinals a season ago and had five starters back for 2011.

In fact, until the final period, the Mustangs never led. Quick goals by Owen Nicola and John Zimmerman pushed Westhill ahead 2-0 and 3-2 in the first quarter, but Dalton Wenzel's pair of goals helped Marcellus tie it, 3-3.

Westhill went back ahead, 4-3, at the end of the period, then blanked the Mustangs for more than 15 minutes, a drought that stretched into the third quarter. Yet the margin did not grow, as Mustang defenders Ricky Alfreds, Dan Scanlon and Martin Tobin kept turning back the Warriors.

Still, when Connor Byrne found the net with 10:20 to play, Westhill was up 8-5, with no real indication that the Mustangs were about to explode with one of its best runs in recent memory.

Within a span of 37 seconds after Byrne's conversion, R.J. Linder and Wenzel converted to make it 8-7, and Luke McNaney's hard shot from the point found the net with 8:06 to play to tie it 8-8. And when Wenzel, who was starting to dominate in the face-off circle, charged in for his fourth goal barely a minute later, Marcellus had a 9-8 lead.

It didn't stop there, either, as Wenzel added a fifth goal with 6:30 left. Now trailing 10-8, the Warriors moved within a goal as Byrne converted again with 3:43 left, but the Mustangs did a superb job possessing the ball, forcing a penalty - and clinching it on Linder's fourth goal with 36.8 seconds to play.

Marcellus and Westhill will meet again May 6 - after a busy start where Marcellus plays 11 times before the end of April, including two encounters with defending Class C champion Skaneateles and, on Saturday, a visit from Onondaga.

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