Stocked with youth and vigor, the Baldwinsville boys soccer fit through the first half of its regular season with a 7-2 mark, a terrific mark.
But those numbers would look even better if the Bees survived a six-day odyssey where it would confront three prime Class AA championship contender -- first Fayetteville-Manlius, then Liverpool, and finally Cicero-North Syracuse.
First, the Hornets visited Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium last Wednesday night, and a driven B'ville squad shut F-M down on its way to a 2-0 victory.
Every Bees player back from 2005 remembered that the Hornets denied B'ville the Section III Class AA title last November in a 1-0 verdict where the only goal was scored on a controversial penalty kick.
And while a whole slew of players on both sides graduated, the feelings lingered as the Bees and Hornets plodded through the early stages with a physical tempo that would not abate.
Gradually, the Bees started getting better chances. Sean St. Denis was denied a goal in the 20th minute when F-M keeper Matt Wopperer made a diving spot -- but St. Denis would make up for it.
In the 33rd minute, Brad Tetrault threw it in from the left side, near the corner. Somehow, the ball trickled through F-M defenders and found St. Denis, who poked it past Wopperer to give the Bees a 1-0 lead.
That proved to be plenty. B'ville's defense held the Hornets to two shots as Colin Hack, Austin Buckley, Mike Perkins and Adam Jones (all new starters in 2006) shadowed F-M's attackers the whole way.
Nate Bourdeau emerged to get the insurance goal in the 58th minute. Hack hit a free kick from the right side and Bourdeau, perfectly timing his jump, blasted a header into the net.
The only sour note came when, early in the second half, Tetrault injured his left knee. He was carried off the field and it's not known if, or when, he will return this season.