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Westhill lacrosse advances in Class C playoffs

Both the Marcellus and Westhill boys lacrosse teams made it into the Section III Class C playoffs - but only the Warriors were able to survive Friday night's opening round.

As the no. 7 seed, The Warriors, who reached the semifinals from a similar spot one year ago, hosted no. 10 seed South Jefferson and relied on steady play in all phases of the game to eliminate the Spartans 14-8, while the no. 12 seed Mustangs saw its season end with a 10-6 loss to no. 5 seed Homer.

Though it was meeting an unfamiliar opponent from the Frontier League, Westhill carried the confidence of knowing it had faced much tougher competition within the Onondaga High School League than the Spartans had faced.

And that, combined with a home-field advantage, helped the Warriors jump all over South Jefferson, leading 5-1 by the time the first quarter was done. Westhill slowed up a bit the rest of the half, but still were up 7-2 at the break before using a 5-2 run through the third period to put things away.

Mostly, it proved a three-way attack for the Warriors. John Zimmerman led the way with five goals and two assists, his feeds often coming from Connor Byrne, who had four assists to go with two goals. Owen Nicola was strong, too, managing three goals and three assists.

Right behind them, Justin Selbach and Austin Webb each found the net twice. Bryan Smith (three goals) and Mark Piche (two goals, two assists) led the Spartans, though it could not get much past goalie Mark McAnaney, who finished with 11 saves.

Westhill advances to Tuesday's Class C quarterfinal against no. 2 seed Skaneateles, who crushed Lowville 19-1 in its opening-round game. The winner there plays in next Thursday's semifinal at CBA's Alibrandi Stadium, with the final May 28 at Cicero-North Syracuse.

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