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.