Oct 28, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As the pattern was developing, the boys soccer drama between undefeated Westhill and its neighbors from Marcellus had gone from one-sided romp to competitive battle.
This had to make fans of the undefeated, top-seeded Warriors a bit nervous heading into Friday night’s Section III Class B quarterfinal against the no. 8 seed Mustangs, aside from that whole cliché about how tough it is to beat someone three times in a season.
Except that Westhill cared little for past patterns or old superstitions, instead relying on its combustible mixture of talent and chemistry to sail past Marcellus 3-1, the same margin by which it prevailed on the Mustangs’ home turf a week earlier.
The key, of course, was to start quickly, and the Warriors, well-rested after a first-round playoff bye, did just that, quickly seizing a 1-0 lead on Luke Longo’s goal. Then Westhill doubled the margin late in the half as Conor Powell struck again.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, the Mustangs tried to make a comeback, but all it could muster was Eric Dorio’s goal, fed by Zach Grashof.
Again, Westhill’s defense did a superb job containing Marcellus’ top player, Nate Waite, and it would tack on one more goal as, off a scramble in front of the net, Jackson Haber converted. Haber also managed an assist, as did Tom Kinsella.
With that win, Westhill advanced to the Class B semifinal against defending champion Clinton. The winner of that Warrior clash will get a Laker team, no. 2 seed Cazenovia or no. 3 seed Skaneateles, in the championship round.
To set up this showdown, Marcellus first had to thread through last Tuesday’s opening-round game against no. 9 seed General Brown – which didn’t prove too difficult as, led by Waite and Tom McNaney, the Mustangs hammered the Lions 9-2.
A wild first half saw GB get on the board twice, thanks to goals by Anthony VanTassel and Adam Vodicka. Those defensive lapses aside, Marcellus still angled its way to a 4-2 halftime lead, and pulled far away in the final 40 minutes.
Waite, in particular, tamed the Lions with four goals and one assist, while McNaney stepped up for his first three-goal hat trick of the season. Dorio set up both of them, with three assists to go with his lone goal, as Liam Carroll also found the net. Mark Tompkins, Dan Brown and Evan Turner each had one assist.
Bishop Ludden, competing in the sectional Class C playoffs, could not make it out of the first round as it fell last Wednesday night to Sauquoit Valley 2-1.
A late-season surge had put the Gaelic Knights into then no. 8 seed, but that didn’t impress visiting Sauquoit. The no. 9 seed Indians played Ludden to a 0-0 first-half draw, and from there the excitement only grew.
Ryan Lantry, off a feed from Jared Taylor, scored in the second half, but Sauquoit countered with goals by Mike Stuhlman and Zach Linck. Peter Impelizzeri had a strong effort in the net, recording 19 saves, while Indians goalie Harley Wright had 12 saves. Ludden’s season ended with a 9-8 mark.