SYRACUSE Normally, encounters in boys soccer between Westhill and Marcellus are tense affairs, with little separating the two sides by the time 90 minutes are played.
That wasn't the case on Monday night, though, as the Warriors took full advantage of the Mustangs' severe disadvantage in the back of its lineup and prevailed by a 7-1 margin.
After starting its season 4-1-1, Marcellus received a brutal blow to its title hopes when both of its top goalkeepers went to the sidelines with season-ending injuries - Eric Daggett with a broken ankle, Ian LaFever with a broken jaw.
Dan Brown, normally a defender, was forced into goalie duty in time for the Sept. 20 game against Cazenovia, a 1-0 overtime defeat. Less than a week later, the Mustangs had to deal with a Westhill side that, despite a 5-0 start, had not made it to the first state Class B rankings of the fall.
Still adjusting to a new defensive configuration, the Mustangs dealt with a swarming Warrior attack that didn't waste much time. In the 12th minute, Barack Ben Yehuda fed a long pass to Conor Powell, who dribbled around one Mustang player and hit a shot past Brown into the left side of the net.
It got worse after Owen Hennigan, off a rebound of a hard shot by Tom Kinsella, converted to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute. The next time the ball went into the Mustangs' end, Brown, pursuing the ball, injured his ankle and had to limp off the field.
So Marcellus had to call on a fourth goalie in the span of a month - Harrison Cox, who had just been called up from the JV team. Cox put up a brave effort, but the Warriors were not merciful.
John Etoll scored just 1:42 before halftime to make it 3-0, and in the second half Powell tacked on another goal in the 52nd minute.
Kinsella, Alex Skeele and Fletcher Chapin all would find the net, too, with Jackson Haber getting two assists. Matt Torak also had an assist as Mark Tompkins converted late in regulation for Marcellus to prevent the shutout.