SYRACUSE As the battle for girls soccer supremacy in the OHSL Liberty division resumed between Westhill and Marcellus, count round one to the Warriors.
Buoyed by two goals 60 seconds apart late in the first half, the Warriors topped the visiting Mustangs 3-2 Wednesday night and took first place in the league standings.
In recent timess, the Westhill-Marcellus rivalry has gone beyond league supremacy. Combined, they have won 13 of the last 15 Section III Class B titles, and both schools have lay claim to state championships in that time frame, too.
Naturally, in 2010 they met again in the sectional final and Marcellus prevailed, 3-1. Remembering that, Westhill entered this contest emotionally charged and ready to conquer the Mustangs this time around.
Those plans were delayed when, 5:36 into the game, goalie Sam Peebles was caught out of position, forcing a Westhill defender to tackle Lexy Bird inside the 18-yard box before she could shoot into an open net. Given a penalty kick, the Mustangs' Kathryn Busa converted.
And the Mustangs kept that 1-0 lead through much of the first half. Both goalie Margaret Choroser and the defenders in front of her - Faith Seeley, Shannon Donahue and Meghan Witkowski - handled the quick Westhill front line and their constant runs into the Mustangs' end.
All that changed, though, in the 33rd minute. From a Westhill corner kick, the ball bounded to the middle where, from 30 yards out, Grace Powers crushed a shot high and into the top center of the net, beyond Choroser's reach, to tie it 1-1.
And it didn't stay tied for long. Exactly one minute later, working from the right corner, Lindsay Lippert lofted a shot to the middle that Maggie Tripodi flicked past Choroser, putting Westhill in front.
Now it was the Warriors' turn to protect a lead. It did so with sound work from a young set of defenders, which included junior Gretchen Krzykowski, freshman Kelly Lippert and eighth-grader Shelby Stack. Lippert also took care of free kicks whenever they were required.