The Westhill boys soccer team earned its third consecutive Section III Class B championship, defeating Cazenovia 2-0 Monday night at Jamesville-DeWitt.
Poise, experience, sound defense and success on set pieces, especially corner kicks – this was the winning formula for the Westhill boys soccer team.
All of these were on display Monday night at Jamesville-DeWitt as the Warriors, defeating Cazenovia 2-0, earned its third consecutive Section III Class B championship.
“It’s awesome to get three in a row,” said senior Jack Grooms, who scored the go-ahead goal. “We had to play as a team, and everyone puts in the effort every single day.”
Head coach Tom Etoll pointed to the 17 seniors on his roster and said that all of them accepted various roles without complaint, which has helped to produce a 15-3-1 record and another sectional banner.
Naturally, the final step was beating Cazenovia, something Westhill had done in both the 2016 and 2017 sectional title games and again in a 4-1 decision in early September.
In the game’s early stages, the Lakers had a handful of good scoring opportunities, but could not convert them, missing a chance to gain a psychological edge.
Led by Grooms, Philip Zollo, Charlie Bolesh and Ryan Bennett, the back line managed to contain Joe Spires, Cazenovia’s leading scorer with 24 goals, and pay attention to the other forwards, too. They were so effective that goalie Liam Robb only had to make one save.
Meanwhile, the Warriors probed on offense, unable to convert on several set pieces before breaking through just 1:16 before halftime.
It was yet another corner kick, and Bo BenYehuda took it, lofting the ball to the middle. Grooms timed his run, broke free and, with a well-placed header, put it past Cazenovia goalie Ray Satchwell.
Throughout the second half, Westhill mostly concentrated on protecting its own end, yet knew that it was one mistake from having things tied up.
Relief didn’t arrive until, with 13 minutes left, yet another corner kick turned into a clinching goal. Again, BenYehuda started it, but this time the ball deflected off players on both teams before bouncing out to Braden Krzykowski, on the left side, who fit a shot inside the left post.
Once again, Westhill is going to the state tournament, where on Saturday it will face Section IV champion Oneonta at the Wright National Soccer Campus, seeking a third straight trip to the state final four.