SYRACUSE Jake Etoll sprinted up the near sideline. Arms held up, the Westhill sophomore forward ran in front of the Warriors student section, stopped on the edge of the track, and crossed his arms — putting on his most serious pose — as teammates grabbed and jumped on him.
Etoll had just scored the game-winning goal 10 seconds into sudden-death overtime to propel the Westhill boys’ soccer team past Cazenovia 3-2 on Thursday night at the Warriors' new turf field.
Warriors forward Tommy Kinsella took the kickoff and found Etoll cutting toward goal from the left side. Running onto the ball, he calmly knocked it to the right of Lakers goalkeeper Chris Matteson and into the net - a score so quick, it even caught his coach and father, Tom Etoll, off-guard.
“(I didn’t expect it) the way Caz was fighting down the stretch,” Tom Etoll said. “There’s a lot of luck involved in a lot of things. Certainly some luck involved in that, but we’ll take it.”
In winning the battle of unbeatens, Westhill improves to 3-0 on the season while Cazenovia falls to 4-1. Etoll starred in the victory with two goals, the other coming off the foot of Kinsella.
Matteson made a slew of second-half saves, finishing with 19 on the night, and Cazenovia’s Conner Polsin punctuated the Lakers’ strong play with an equalizer with less than six minutes left in regulation. But Etoll and the Warriors staved off a gritty second-half performance from Cazenovia, and prevailed with the victory.
“We’re a young team and we’re excited because Westhill’s always been a dominant program and we’ve always sort of had an underdog feel,” Cazenovia coach Adam Reynolds said. “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we’re excited about playing with them about. We’re running with them. Our confidence is up.”