Tags: girls soccerMarcellusWesthill In its quest to regain the Section III Class B championship after an early elimination in 2018, the Westhill girls soccer team got through its most historic rival – but fell one victory short of a 15th sectional crown.As it worked out, the no. 3 seed Warriors and Marcellus, the no. 2 seed, would confront each other in the sectional Class B semifinal last Tuesday at Jamesville-DeWitt, and Westhill got the best of it, blanking the Mustangs 1-0.For all the many times occasions these two teams have met in important games over the last three decades, this was the first time since the 2014 final that Westhill and Marcellus would match up late in the sectional tournament. Throughout the second half, any time Mustangs tried to pick up pressure, the Westhill defense pushed them to the sides. Brooke Zollo, Lauren Marshall, Ryan Murphy and the rest of the defense would earn its 12th shutout overall.And now, in the sectional title game Friday night at SUNY-Cortland, Westhill would try and topple top seed Central Valley Academy, who in the other semifinal had rallied from an early deficit to knock off defending champion Holland Patent 2-1.Despite its historical edge, and despite a mid-game surge, the Warriors were unable to deny the Thunder its first-ever sectional championship as CVA won by a 3-1 margin.From the outset, the Thunder found itself on the front foot, making Westhill’s defense work hard. In particular, Murphy had a big task, assigned to the Thunder’s star forward, Reilly Rich, who despite Murphy’s best efforts would prove the game’s most important presence.After crashing a shot off the post in the opening minutes, Rich set up the game’s first goal midway through the first half, her deft pass finding a streaking Jazmyn Gillette up the middle, and Gillette punched a low shot past Lauren Bendall.Not until late in the half did the Warriors’ attack start to hum. Rudnick pushed a hard shot just wide in the 30th minute, and Westhill almost converted again in the last two minutes, so a 1-0 deficit at the break didn’t seem too alarming.Sure enough, less than seven minutes into the second half Erica Gangemi, from the left side, lofted a terrific pass to Lauren Holstein, who converted the tying goal.But just when it looked like the Warriors were ready to take over, CVA regrouped and started to apply the same pressure it did earlier in the game, leading to two decisive blows.With 17:58 left, the Thunder had a free kick from the right side 25 yards out at an odd angle. Here, Rich delivered the biggest goal in her program’s history, a perfect free kick with her left foot that lofted to the top left corner of the net out of Bendall’s reach.And CVA didn’t sit on its 2-1 lead, continuing to push hard until a series of great passes, the last by Claire Schoff, set up freshman Megan Canipe for a deft shot just inside the right post for the clincher.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Despite the better seed for the Mustangs, it was the Warriors who prevailed 1-0 in overtime when these sides met in September, and the rematch would again feature strong defense on both ends.With the ball kept in its own end for much of the first half, the Marcellus back line, led by Shannon Kellar, Lauren Keyes, Sam Wynne and Maggie Moses, did a terrific job preventing close-up opportunities.As such, Westhill had to produce something special to get a goal. That happened with 39 seconds left in the half as Stephanie Falcone’s well-timed touch pass found Ciarra Rudnick, who flicked a low shot past Elena Shaw.