At just the right moment, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys soccer team is maturing and finding a top form that just might sustain itself through a long post-season run.
Playing sound defense and showing more energy as the night went on, the Hornets went to Baldwinsville last Saturday and knocked off the state Class AA no. 19-ranked Bees in a 1-0 decision at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
Having lost 2-1 to B'ville just 12 days earlier at Swan Pond, the Hornets knew it could keep up with the Class AA title contenders -- and it also knew B'ville had a huge game looming with Cicero-North Syracuse, and might be looking ahead.
Fortunately, F-M caught B'ville in far from top form, and in a moment of defensive confusion in the first half, Chris Hartzheim drilled a free kick through the wall and past P.J. Goodwin into the net.
Somehow, that single goal would hold up. Even though B'ville had possession of the ball most of the night, defenders like Bennett Sluis, Matt Phillips, Brian Murphy and David Kennedy kept them frustrated, and Alex Cameron-Carter came up with seven saves.
Just before B'ville, the Hornets had a chance to show off its attack last Thursday at Swan Pond, ripping the Auburn Maroons 9-0.
Ryan Duff, with his first varsity three-goal hat trick, led an F-M push that was so effective that it already enjoyed a 7-0 lead by halftime.
Brian Ward and Hartzheim, with three assists apiece, served as the foundation for the attack. Jim Forbes and Kris Alestalo each scored twice, with Jamie Lunney and Mike Kutzer also earning goals. Ben Hootnick, Seth Tiplitsky, Matt Rand and Kennedy each had one assist.
F-M now could get on a roll, as it plays West Genesee and Corcoran this week to improve upon its 8-4-1 mark.