September 7, 2012
All right, now it's girls soccer season.
Sure, they started with the games a week ago, but what we needed was a real juicy match-up, something that involves quality teams, contenders and programs that know what they're doing.
So I give you Marcellus and Westhill, who have made it a habit to meet twice in the regular season, and then get back together come playoff time at some late point. Last year, it was the semifinals and the Mustangs pulled it out 1-0 by scoring really, really early and hanging on from there.
Tonight, it was the exact opposite, the battle requiring two 40-minute halves, two 20-minute overtime periods and one 30-minute lightning for distant stuff that never really got close to the Mustangs' home turf.
In short, it took nearly three hours before Brielle Filtch, midway through the second OT took the great pass from Laura Dailey, slid past Westhill goalie Sam Peebles (who had a superb night in the net) and put it into the open net, and again it was 1-0 Marcellus, with a sequel set for Oct. 9.
No doubt, the Mustangs and Warriors will be the standard-bearers in Class B, especially since Lowville, who stunned Marcellus in a shootout in the 2011 final, lost just about everyone, including super-goalie Taylor Haenlin. who's now at SU. Maybe Cazenovia could move in, for Kristie Klein is spectacular, as she proved by scoring six goals in a win over Hannibal earlier this week.
Moving down a bit, Class C went to Tully a year ago, who parlayed it into a state final four appearance. But gone are Jessica Riggall, Tirzah Smith, Alexis Drumm and Courtney DeOrdio, so challengers like Fabius-Pompey could pounce, and Sauquoit Valley will want to climb back on top, too.
Only the roulette of penalty kicks kept Remsen from a chance at the state Class D championship last November at SUNY-Cortland. To get back there, the Rams will need more from the magical O'Connor sisters, who double as cross country runners. No one else can pull off that kind of double in Section III athletics.
Having claimed three straight sectional titles in Class A, Jamesville-DeWitt's quest for four will center around its blazing speed on the front line, ranging from seniors Maddy Devereaux and Jessica Holmes to ninth-graders like Paige Sherling and Allie Balotin. Whitesboro, who was the other Class A finalist in 2011, has almost everyone back, and Cortland is eager to challenge again.
Liverpool broke Baldwinsville's hold on Class AA last fall, in large part because the Bees got upended by CBA in the semifinals. Replacing Kim Murphy, Tori Corsaro and other big names will be a tall task for the Warriors, especially with so much talent gunning at them.
At CBA, there's merely Marisa Romeo and Eva Gordon, while at B'ville Jackie Firenze is gone, but Emma Firenze is still around to occupy at least two defenders per night. West Genesee will be heard from, too, even if so many key players use the fall as practice for the more important stuff in the spring involving lacrosse sticks.