Oct 31, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All went according to plan for the Westhill boys soccer team as it easily made a return to the Section III Class B championship game – but Marcellus would not be there to face them.
Just as the top seed and defending champion Warriors were putting away Vernon-Verona-Sherrill 4-0 in Wednesday night’s Class B semifinal at Chittenango High School, the no. 6 seed Mustangs were suffering a painful 2-0 defeat to no. 7 seed Skaneateles in the other semifinal at Liverpool High School Stadium.
So instead of a neighborhood clash similar to the girls sectional final, Westhill (17-1) will face the Lakers (12-7) for the sectional title Tuesday night at 5 p.m. at LHS Stadium, trying to make it three in a row against a side it beat in a pair of 2-1 contests back in September.
What will grab the Warriors’ attention, for sure, is that Skaneateles had also lost twice to Marcellus in the regular season, and that didn’t mean much when the stakes were raised in the post-season.
Off a dramatic 1-0 overtime win over no. 3 seed Cazenovia in the quarterfinal round on Oct. 25, Marcellus was facing a Skaneateles side that had toppled no. 2 seed Clinton 2-1 to get this far.
The Lakers’ defense kept Marcellus at bay throughout a 0-0 first half. For the most part, it flicked away chances before they got to Skaneateles goalkeeper Billy Patrick, but Patrick still made a big stop late in the half to preserve the deadlock.
When the second half started, the Lakers kept probing, as it had done in the early going. The difference was that Jack Bailey would break through.
Bailey, who had scored a goal in the quarterfinal win over Clinton, beat Ian LaFever for the go-ahead goal off a feed from Sam Clymer, who had the other goal against Clinton.
Not content with that 1-0 edge, Skaneateles kept forcing the issue, until a foul inside the 18-yard box gave the Lakers a penalty kick that Bailey converted for the insurance goal.
As Marcellus dealt with the brutal disappointment of a playoff defeat to a bitter rival, Westhill didn’t have any stress at all against no. 4 seed VVS, taking control early and never letting go.
During a first half where the Warriors dominated the flow of play, it got on the board once, as Mike MacKnight, in the 12th minute, got open on the left side and, with his wrong foot, pushed it past Red Devils goalie Justin VanDuLuitgarden.
Though Westhill didn’t score the rest of the half, it constantly kept the ball in the VVS end, never letting the Red Devils establish any sort of attack. That relentless pressure took its toll as, less than five minutes into the second half, Matt Torak converted to make it 2-0.
Westhill’s diverse attack never got content, either, answering VVS’s brief charge by having Barak BenYehuda score in the 58th minute, expanding the margin to 3-0, and seven minutes later Nick French added a fourth goal. Torak, BenYehuda and Jake Etoll each got one assist as VanDuluitgarden, in defeat, made nine saves.