Everyone gathered for the Section III Class AA boys soccer quarterfinal between Baldwinsville and Liverpool last Friday afternoon steeled themselves for a long and bitter stalemate, and expected it to go to overtime and beyond.
But the moment the no. 5 seed Bees broke through, the no. 4 seed Warriors fell apart, and B'ville roared its way to a 4-0 victory that sets up a much-anticipated semifinal showdown against top seed Cicero-North Syracuse.
True to expectations, the Bees and Warriors played a conservative first half where every possible opportunity was turned aside. B'ville was eager to avenge a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sept. 29, but stayed patient.
Whatever the Warriors tried to muster, defenders like Kevin Pond, Dave Rehkhugler, Adam Jones and Michael Perkins would cast aside, and P.J. Goodwin would finish with six saves.
As the second half, B'ville decided to push the tempo, and it was soon camping itself in Liverpool's end, waiting for the right moment.
That came just seven minutes into the half, when Sean St. Denis charged in from the right and fired a hard shot that slipped out of Liverpool goalie James Taber's hands and trickled into the net.
Everyone else on the Bees seemed to be ignited by this play. It kept attacking, and in the 61st minute, Nate Bourdeau, the school's all-time leading scorer, made a 50-yard sprint to the net, drew out Taber, then passed it to freshman Hobie Ramin, who poked home his first goal of the season.
Now with a cushion, B'ville had even more fun, as Colin Hack headed in a cross from St. Denis, and Bourdeau would add a goal before it was done.
This led the Bees toward Wednesday night's showdown with CNS on the turf at West Genesee. A year ago, in this exact same round, B'ville stunned the unbeaten no. 1 seed Northstars, 2-0, a game CNS desperately wants to avenge.
The survivor of this classic will get the chance to play Fayetteville-Manlius or Nottingham in the Class AA final at SUNY-Cortland this weekend.