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F-M field hockey stuns CNS

What started, a couple of years ago, as a mere murmur as turned into a nice long rumble -- and might get even noisier.

A season ago, the Fayetteville-Manlius field hockey team moved above the .500 mark, going 8-7-1, and looks to build upon that success this fall despite the departure of nine seniors to graduation.

Bent on becoming a title contender, the Hornets took a huge step in that direction for 2007 last Saturday by knocking off two-time defending Class A champion Cicero-North Syracuse by a score of 2-1.

Pulling the Northstars off its home turf, the Hornets reveled in the fact that its plays its home games on grass, where the erratic bounces of the ball contrast with the smooth roll on turf such as CNS is used to.

Shayna McKie fed Natalie Pascale for a first-half goal, matching the tally by the Northstars' Katie Barbagallo, and the teams went to halftime tied, at 1-1.

Much of the second half was a tense standoff, as the teams battled to see who would go in front. Finally, with nine minutes left in regulation, McKie again used her deft passing touch, this time to find Alison Haynes, whose shot got past Nicole Gillette for what proved to be the game-winner.

This was the climax of a strong opening week. F-M began it last Tuesday afternoon by pounding long-time power Rome Free Academy 4-1.

Against RFA, a team that went to the sectional finals in 2006, the Hornets F-M staked itself to a 1-0 lead by halftime, then pulled away in the late stages by displaying a deep, diverse attack.

McKie, Alison O'Neil and Emily Muldoon each finished with one goal and one assist, while Emily Winecki also scored. Only Victoria Cervalo's late tally prevented a shutout.

This was, in all, quite an eventful opening week, since F-M would come face-to-face with all three of the acknowledged Class A powers.

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