May 20, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In their own particular ways, and on home fields both permanent and temporary, the Marcellus and Westhill boys lacrosse teams passed their first tests in the Section III Class C playoffs.
Going first, the no. 8 seed Warriors knocked out no. 9 seed Cortland 15-9. A couple of hours later, it was the no. 6 seed Mustangs pulling away from no. 11 seed General Brown for a 16-7 victory.
With a shot at facing top seed and defending state champion Cazenovia at stake, Westhill returned to its temporary home at Solvay’s Earl Hadley Stadium, where it played this spring while a new artificial turf field is installed in time for fall sports.
Waiting was Cortland, who overcame the early suspension of a handful of players to go 10-5 and make a return to the playoffs. The Warriors made sure that stay was not a long one.
Both sides were relatively quiet in the first quarter, but Westhill seized control in the second period, outscoring the Purple Tigers 6-1 so that it went to the break with an 8-2 lead.
The entire second half was spent protecting that margin. And the Warriors did so, matching every Cortland surge with one of its own as, combined, goalies Chris Lawton and Jack Sweeney stopped 14 of 22 shots.
Austin Webb, with four goals and one assist, led a well-balanced attack. Luke Longo and Ryan Suddaby both managed three-goal hat tricks, while Owen Nicola and Richie Easterly each got two goals and two assists. Jack Centore stepped up with one goal and one assist.
Up at Marcellus, the Mustangs, whose season has been full of close contests and narrow defeats to powers like Cazenovia, Homer and CBA, would not find General Brown, an 8-8 entrant from the Frontier League, as difficult to deal with.
From a 2-2 tie late in the first quarter, the Mustangs reeled off nine straight goals, a streak that stretched into the third quarter, and led by as much as 14-3 before easing up in the latter stages of a hot afternoon.
Connor Wheeler led the way with five goals. Nick Nye, the Mustangs’ long-stick midfielder, supplied a pair of goals, including a behind-the-back effort in the second quarter.
Tom McNaney had two goals and two assists, with Kevin Hutchings and Dalton Wenzel also scoring twice. Rich Ghezzi, Morgan Reilly and David Lilly each had one goal and one assist as goalie Chris Martin put up six saves before Jake Lilly replaced him in the late going.
Of the three local teams that made it to the Class C playoffs, only Jordan-Elbridge, the no. 10 seed, lost in the opening round, falling to no. 7 seed Skaneateles 16-7 on Saturday night.
Having worked so hard just to get into the sectional tournament, the Eagles saw its dreams of going further quickly dashed when Skaneateles bolted to a 4-0 lead by the end of the first quarter.
Even though J-E got on the board in the second period, it still trailed, 7-2, at the break, and saw the deficit grow to 13-5 by the fourth quarter, too much to overcome.
Cody Lewis still had two goals and three assists, with Gale Thorpe registering a three-goal hat trick. Leland Holmes and Zach Wagner had the other goals as Noland Michaels picked up 10 saves. Zach Ross led Skaneateles with five goals.
This sets up a pair of Class C quarterfinals next Thursday. Marcellus (10-7) visits no. 3 seed CBA at 2:30 at Alibrandi Stadium, looking to avenge two close regular-season losses to the Brothers, one of them a 10-9 overtime decision on May 4. The winner gets Homer or Skaneateles in the semifinals.
As for Westhill (9-7), the task involves beating a Cazenovia team that has won 33 of its last 34 games (including a 12-5 decision over the Warriors on May 4) and will be well-rested after a first-round bye.
LaFayette or Watertown IHC will await the winner in the other Class C semifinal, as both of those games take place next Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse’s Bragman Stadium.