DeWitt As the public address announcer read off the last few names on the Westhill boys soccer roster, Conor Powell walked over to the orange Gatorade cooler sitting on the team bench.
The Warriors had just won the Section III Class B title with a 2-1 win over Cazenovia in the championship game at CBA's Alibrandi Stadium. The players and coaches were being called forward to receive their championship badges.
But while everyone else stood in line cheering, Powell - who had already received his award - picked up a cup and poured himself a drink. After scoring the game-winning goal, he deserved it.
“It’s special, it’s memorable, it’s something that’s going to last forever,” Powell said. “It’s something I’m going to tell my kids one day.”
Powell’s goal in the 44th minute broke a 1-1 deadlock Tuesday night and sent the undefeated Warriors to regionals for the first time since 2004. They advance to play Susquehanna Valley of Section IV Saturday at the Wright Soccer Complex in Oneonta.
Westhill defeated Cazenovia by a one-goal margin for the third time this season after a pair of regular season triumphs. But in this one, the Warriors had to come from behind in a gritty, physical competition.
Lakers forward Tyler Modzeleski scored just six minutes into regulation, but Barak Ben Yehuda tallied an equalizer in the 12th minute before Powell provided the difference maker early in the second half.
The result ends Cazenovia’s most successful season in program history. The Lakers won their first divisional title in 28 years and made it farther in sectionals than ever before.
“They built this program up and they’re setting the tone for future generations, for the next classes coming through,” Cazenovia head coach Adam Reynolds said. “We’re going to see Westhill next year. We’re going to see them all next year, but (this loss) is going to tell them what they need to do.”