Oct 25, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
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.
Then, with 15:42 to play, Erin McMullen, a freshman called up from the JV ranks, hit what looked to be a low-percentage shot from the left corner that Kush waited for at the near post. But Kush could not hold on to the ball, and it rolled behind her into the net.
That single goal would hold up the rest of the way. Waging an all-out attack in the closing minutes, the Lakers forced Peebles to make a series of clutch stops, giving her nine saves for the night.
Getting to face Skaneateles required the Warriors to first get past no. 12 seed Holland Patent in last Tuesday’s opening round, which it did by a comfortable 6-1 margin.
Any possible suspense was drained out in the first half, when Westhill bolted to a 4-0 lead, something that Peebles was sure to protect as she stopped 11 of 12 shots.
Lindsey Lippert anchored the attack, getting three assists to go with her lone goal. Grace Powers was the only Warrior to score twice, with Tatiana Monds, Jayanna Monds and Erin McMullen also finding the net. Dana Radin contributed an assist.
As Westhill was going through its stressful encounter with Skaneateles, Marcellus required no late heroics to blank Cazenovia by the same four-goal margin that it did less than two weeks earlier, on Oct. 12.
Thanks to its vaunted ball-possession game, the Mustangs kept the ball away from the Lakers, and constantly attacked from the start. That led to a goal in the 14th minute, Jada Sargeant finishing off a breakaway she shared with Emma Blystone.
It was still 1-0 when, in the 30th minute, Marcellus earned a free kick. Brielle Filtch took it, and when Cazenovia goalie Maggie Johnson could not handle the ball, it trickled into the net, making it 2-0, where it stood at halftime.
Early in the second half, the Lakers, trying to move forward, got caught in its back line, leading to yet another fast break that Filtch finished off after deft passes from Sargeant and Madison Belvito. Sargeant would get a second goal in the 59th minute to close out the scoring.
Cazenovia had earned its shot at Marcellus by eliminating no. 10 seed Solvay 6-0 in the opening round at the Sean Googin Sports Complex two nights earlier.
The Bearcats were within range, only trailing 1-0 at halftime, before the Lakers broke it open with three goals in the first seven minutes of the second half.
Audrey Burbidge made it 2-0 just 27 seconds into the second half, with Claire Costello converting three minutes later in a similar manner and Lauren Mapstone pulling off a successful penalty kick. The Bearcats never recovered, finishing its season with a record of 8-9.