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Girls soccer Mustangs top Westhill, win Class B title

Marcellus rallies after Warriors lead early in second half

Marcellus girls soccer players celebrate after defeating Westhill 3-1 in Friday night's Section III Class B championship game at SUNY-Cortland. The Mustangs trailed 1-0 in the second half before getting three unanswered goals in the game's latter stages to earn a fourth consecutive sectional title.

Marcellus girls soccer players celebrate after defeating Westhill 3-1 in Friday night's Section III Class B championship game at SUNY-Cortland. The Mustangs trailed 1-0 in the second half before getting three unanswered goals in the game's latter stages to earn a fourth consecutive sectional title. Frank Witkowski

Falling behind in a championship game is not an optimal strategy - most of the time, anyway. Yet it may have proved the primary reason why the Marcellus girls soccer team is, once again, the proud owners of a Section III Class B title.

It wasn't until the Mustangs trailed long-time rival Westhill in Friday night's sectional final at SUNY-Cortland that it started to display its top form, and that translated into a 3-1 victory over the Warriors.

"It's a great feeling," said senior Brielle Filtch, who scored the go-ahead goal late in the second half. "We really wanted to go all the way."

That makes it four sectional championships in a row either won or shared by Marcellus, and this one, according to head coach Laurie Updike, was as much a product of heart as it was of talent, especially after Westhill went out in front.

"Our (12) seniors checked in," said Updike. "They knew what they had to do. They had to buckle down."

Of course, every game between Marcellus and Westhill has extra intensity. Add to it the stakes of a sectional title (Westhill was looking for its first championship since 2008), and it only gets bigger.

"Westhill is the yin to our yang," said Updike. "Every time we play them, it's a bundle of nerves."

They sure were nervous throughout a scoreless first half. Westhill head coach Lisa Dwyer said her team had the best of the play in those 40 minutes, and the Warriors did earn a series of corner kicks and other set pieces that it could not convert.

Late in the half, Marcellus started getting great chances, too, but goalkeeper Sam Peebles, sweeper Shelby Stack and the rest of the back line maintained their poise, and it went to the break 0-0.

Just 3:16 into the second half, things got even better for the Warriors. Off Kelly Lippert's free kick from the left corner, Marcellus goalie Emily Buschbascher had a difficult time gathering the ball, and Lindsey Lippert flushed a shot past her to put Westhill ahead 1-0.

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