If the Cicero-North Syracuse boys soccer team can handle all that it had to deal with in Tuesday night's fierce battle with Baldwinsville, then it just might have the stuff of champions.
Run to the point of exhaustion, the Northstars blew two different leads in regulation and had to deal with a thickening fog and 17-plus minutes of overtime at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium before finally subduing the Bees, 4-3.
To say that CNS won because Brad Myles dashed up the middle, took Jeff Gilbert's pass and fired the game-winning goal past P.J. Goodwin with 2:55 left in double overtime is making things way too simple.
The roots of this signature victory were planted 11 months ago, on the turf at Corcoran, where the undefeated, no. 1 seed Northstars were stunned by B'ville in the Section III Class AA semifinal.
Though it was never mentioned this fall by head coach Mike McCaffery, CNS came to B'ville bent on some payback, and boosted further by the absence of the Bees' star midfielder, Brad Tetrault, who tore two knee ligaments in a win over Fayetteville-Manlius six days earlier.
Gradually, CNS took control of the flow of play in the first half, and while most of the attacks were turned away, it did create an element of danger.
That danger played itself out when, in the 30th minute, Joe Viviano crossed to the middle -- and saw the ball careen off a B'ville defender into the net, an "own goal" that gave the Northstars a 1-0 edge.
Alarmed and angry, the Bees, just off a loss to Liverpool on Sept. 29, began to swarm the CNS net. In the 36th minute, Austin Buckley's long cross from the left found Brad Hyde. Hyde's point-blank shot was stopped by Ryan Goettel, but Mike Perkins swooped in and put the rebound home to tie it, 1-1.