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Skaneateles boys soccer falls in sectional final

Top-seeded Westhill rallies past Lakers, 2-1, in title game

— Just 40 minutes separated the Skaneateles boys soccer team from an unlikely Section III Class B championship as it led top seed Westhill at halftime of Tuesday night’s championship game at Liverpool High School Stadium.

But the Lakers could not quite finish it off. Defending its sectional title, the top-seeded Warriors got two second-half goals from senior captain Barak BenYehuda, and that proved enough to beat Skaneateles by a 2-1 margin.

Head coach Aaron Moss said his team, which started just three seniors, was doing just fine before the more experienced Westhill side started to force the issue in the second half.

“We knew we were playing well, and we were confident,” said Moss. “But then we felt some jitters, and they (Westhill) took it to us.”

These two teams had played twice in September. Both times, the Lakers lost by that same 2-1 margin, never leading in either of those contests.

But Skaneateles was a more confident team, having risen from its no. 7 playoff seed to beat no. 2 seed Clinton in the quarterfinals and avenge two regular-season defeats to Marcellus in the semifinals. Now it wanted to get the same payback against Westhill as it did against the Mustangs.

He first half included all kinds of ebb and flow. Westhill pushed hard early, but soon found itself in a defensive mode as Skaneateles took advantage of defensive confusion to get some close-up looks, and utilizing defender Nick Palmer for a series of effective throw-ins.

Then, in the 17th minute, Palmer sent another one of his throws to the middle. The ball took a high bounce off the turf and eluded Westhill goalie Chris Burrows long enough to have Sam Clymer one-time a shot into the net.

It was only the second time all season that the Warriors trailed. Sensing this, Skaneateles continued to push, but was unable to add to that 1-0 lead.

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