With an intense and physical effort, the West Genesee girls soccer team went to Cicero-North Syracuse last Thursday night and beat the defending Class AA champion Northstars 1-0.
If that sounds familiar -- well, it is. The exact same thing -- a 1-0 Wildcat victory over CNS -- took place five days earlier, on the exact same field.
But the second contest had far more meaning, because it came in the Section III Class AA quarterfinals, a place where WG, the no. 5 seed, was knocked out by Baldwinsville a year earlier.
That bitter memory had motivated the Wildcats throughout 2006, and, according to head coach Janine Corning, had helped the team overcome a string of mid-season injuries to flourish right now.
"We had adversity," said Corning. "But we were just hoping to peak at the right time. We knew we were one of the best teams and could play with anyone."
One other major factor was different in this second game with CNS within the span of less than a week- and that had to do with the player in the Northstars' net.
Senior Meg Kinne was back for CNS, the no. 4 seed, this after missing most of October with an injured leg as freshman Chelesea Dunay took over. Kinne had watched the Oct. 21 game with WG from the sidelines, but was now an active participant, as the Wildcats found out quickly.
In the 19th minute, Chelsea Kuss was fouled inside the 18-yard box. Given a penalty kick, Kuss went for inside the left post -- but Kinne read it and made a diving save to keep WG from taking the lead.
CNS was fired up by Kinne's save, but the Wildcats quickly regrouped -- and would spend the rest of regulation putting up a near-perfect defensive stand.