All of a sudden, the boys soccer showdown Tuesday night between Marcellus and Westhill has more meaning than either side may have anticipated.
Before the Mustangs, who jumped to no. 11 in the last state Class B rankings, could get its shot at the state no. 2-ranked Warriors, it was Cazenovia pulling off the feat of knocking Westhill from the unbeaten ranks in a 2-1 thriller last Tuesday at the Sean Googin Sports Complex.
Similar to the plight of Marcellus, Cazenovia, despite its own strong 8-1-1 start, did not reach the state rankings until this week, and only at no. 18, a position that’s bound to change after the events of this particular match.
The first half, and a good portion of the second half, belonged to the defenses on either side. While there were plenty of runs, few direct shots were taken, and the Lakers’ defense at least put the team in a position to where it could win if something broke on the other end.
Urgency to make just that kind of play only grew when Mack Etoll found the net with 12 minutes left. But that 1-0 Warriors lead did not hold as Cazenovia maintained its poise, found an opportunity and, with 6:20 left, drew a Westhill foul inside the 18-yard box, leading to Joe Spires’ successful penalty kick.
Even at this point, the Lakers weren’t happy just to force a possible overtime. The pressure built up and, getting an open look, senior Ryan Modezeleski blasted it past John Geer for what proved to be the game-winner. It was Modzeleski’s 12th goal of the season, and by far his most impactful.
Contrasting this first blemish for Westhill was the work of Marcellus going to Solvay and reaching double digits on the board during a 10-1 romp over the Bearcats.
Even as Pavel Buko put Solvay on the board in the first half, the Mustangs were scoring seven times, Carter Austin on his way to a three-goal hat trick as Jake Wilkinson found the net twice. Shawn Manke, David Bosak, Con Clarke, Andrew Fragnito and Sam Grattan had one goal apiece, with assists going to Noah LeFever, Pat Morocco, Jack O’Hara and Justin Costa.
A day later, Marcellus took out Homer 6-1, with Dakota Baker stepping up, scoring twice and adding an assist. Bosak, Austin and Hugh White each had one goal and one assist, with Manke also finding the net.
Now, as Westhill shut out Mexico 4-0 on Saturday, Marcellus got to face the same state Class A no. 6-ranked Whitesboro team Westhill beat 1-0 a couple of weeks earlier.
The Mustangs would not be as successful, seeing its win streak get dashed in another game decided by a 2-1 margin. Bosak’s goal in the first half, assisted by Wilkinson, was topped as Wayne Williams scored twice for Whitesboro. A tense second half saw Marcellus get few chances against a tight Warriors defense.
Another big game in boys soccer would come Friday, when state Class D no. 12-ranked Bishop Ludden would put its 10-game win streak on the line at Manlius-Pebble Hill, who sported an 8-2 record of its own.
And the Trojans proved it wasn’t a fluke, ending the Gaelic Knights’ streak in yet another 2-1 decision where all the goals were scored in the second half. Lucas Scutari converted for Ludden, but Josh Hutko twice put shots past Josh Bianchi, who ended the game with nine saves.
Earlier in the week, Ludden edged Cato-Meridian by that same 2-1 margin. That it was so close was largely due to Cato goalie Trent Lunkenheimer having a spectacular performance, stopping 26 of the Gaelic Knights’ 28 shots.
Lunkenheimer gave the Blue Devils a chance, and Chad Thompson scored in the second half for the visitors. Yet Ludden, who was up 1-0 at the half, matched that tally and held on, Lucas Scutari and Connor Catalano again earning the goals as Liam Katko and Michael Gaughan got credit for assists.
West Genesee, coming off its Sept. 29 overtime win over Nottingham, visited Baldwinsville last Monday night and was in trouble right from the outset during a 6-0 defeat to the state Class AA no. 11-ranked Bees.
Before the game was five minutes old, the Wildcats trailed 2-0 as Brandon Mimas netted one goal for B’ville and assisted on the other, by D.J. Taylor. That margin doubled to 4-0 by halftime, and despite David Wenner’s 14 saves, the Bees kept rolling as Mimas added two more goals to earn the hat trick.
At home on Wednesday night, WG fell to Liverpool 3-1, all of the goals coming in the first half as Ryan Washo put the Wildcats on the board, only to get contradicted by goals fro the Warriors’ trio of Abe Haley, James Gaffney and Dan Tracy. Wenner finished with six saves.
But WG would make quite a comeback on Friday, beating Henninger 4-2 after it trailed 2-0 at halftime due to back-to-back goals by the Black Knights’ Vianey Botame. Brian Myers and Ricky Francisco hit the goals that tied it, 2-2, with Francisco returning to help push the Wildcats in front as Jackson Craig also earned a goal. Griffin Sasso and Carter Turton got credit for assists.
A poor first half also cost Jordan-Elbridge in last Wednesday’s 5-1 defeat to Skaneateles. In the first seven minutes, the Lakers seized a 2-0 lead on breakaway goals by Noah O’Connor and Tylar Moss, with Max Moss, Tommy Reed and Jeremy Castle also finding the net before halftime.
Trailing 5-0 at intermission, the Eagles, to its credit, did shut out Skaneateles the rest of the way, Keegan Ferris and Matt Frost making 14 saves between them as Nick Sherman’s second-half goal prevented a Lakers shutout.