Once more, the Westhill girls soccer team found its path to a possible Section III Class B title going through Skaneateles in the quarterfinal round.
But unlike the last two times they got together, someone in this showdown would get on the board – and it would turn out to be the no. 5 seed Warriors, who parlayed a bit of good fortune into a 1-0 victory over the no. 4 Lakers last Thursday night at Hyatt Stadium.
This keeps alive the possibility of a sectional final between Westhill and defending champion Marcellus. The no. 2 seed Mustangs won its quarterfinal last Thursday in far less stressful fashion than the Warriors did, knocking out no. 7 seed Cazenovia 4-0.
Not only had Westhill and Skaneateles played 0-0 in last year's sectional tournament, they had also played to a scoreless deadlock in their lone regular-season encounter this fall, on Oct. 1.
It nearly turned out the same way here. A cold wind, sustained at 20 miles per hours and gusting to 30, blew across the Skaneateles turf, aiding the defenses and making it difficult for both offenses to get any sort of ball control.
Chances were sparse in the first half, but both teams had clear looks at go-ahead goals. In the 15th minute, Catie Woodruff dribbled her way past Westhill goalie Sam Peebles and had a wide-open look, only to drill the ball over the net.
Later in the half, the Warriors' Tatiana Monds got open in front of the Skaneateles net, but Lakers keeper Sophie Kush managed a terrific save, and the two sides went to the break still 0-0.
The game turned physical early in the second half, as Westhill's Megan O'Reilly and Skanetaeles' Elizabeth Lane both left the game with injuries. Scoring chances increased, but again they were missed, and the specter of another overtime marathon loomed.