Marcellus senior midfielder Emma Blystone (19) sprints past two Center Moriches defenders with the ball late in Saturday's state Class B semifinal at SUNY-Cortland, where the Mustangs would defeat the Red Devils 2-0.
Timothy Van Camp Jr.
Jordin Wentworth's last experience on the SUNY-Cortland turf ended with her carried off the field on a stretcher after an injury suffered in the Section III Class B final against Westhill.
Barely two weeks later, in nearly the exact same spot where her injury took place, Wentworth did something quite different - and it propelled the Mustangs to a 2-0 victory over Center Moriches in the state Class B semifinals.
With that win, Marcellus gets to return to SUNY-Cortland Sunday at 4 p.m. to face Oneonta (Section IV) with a chance to earn the program's fourth state title, but first since 2004. the Yellowjackets beat Hornell 2-1 in the other semifinal on Saturday night.
With the game still 0-0 as it neared the midway point of the second half, Marcellus lined up for a free kick 30 yards from the Center Moriches net. Up until then, the Mustangs had enjoyed a fair amount of scoring chances, but had not dominated the flow of play.
That was because the Section XI (Suffolk County, Long Island) champion Red Devils were quite effective on the defensive end, often having someone available whenever front-line stars like Brielle Filtch, Madi Belvito or Jada Sargeant found open space.
That led to low-percentage shots that Center Moriches goalie Megan Ricci could easily handle, but it also gave Wentworth, fully healed from her injury, room to run down the wings and threaten the Red Devils whenever possible.
Center Moriches also made its fair share of runs, only to run into a tough, efficient Mustang defense that, anchored by Shannon Donahue, Meghan Witkowski and Alana Montreal, prevented any close-up shots.
All of this left things in that 0-0 stalemate in the 58th minute as Marcellus lined up its closest free-kick attempt of the night. Instead of a direct tough, though, Sargeant nudged the ball to Filtch, who instead of taking a shot drew in the Red Devils' defensive wall.
Once they were drawn in, Filltch slipped in a pass behind them - and Wentworth, all alone on the left side, stayed onsides and, with one touch, flung it past Ricci into the unoccupied net.
Now with a 1-0 lead, the Mustangs ably protected that margin, Center Moriches getting closest on Pam Schenck's shot with 4:50 left that glanced off the left post. And as time ran out, Belvito pounded home an insurance goal, allowing the Mustangs to relax and look ahead to an even bigger game less than 24 hours later.