Maybe the Baldwinsville boys soccer team had to remind everybody that, until proven otherwise, it's still the team to beat in the Section III Class AA title race.
For the third time in 12 months, the Bees turned away the challenge of Fayetteville-Manilus, this time going to Swan Pond last Saturday night and putting together a superb defensive performance in a 1-0 victory over the Hornets.
Having beaten F-M in last year's Class AA final (1-0 in overtime) and again early this season (a 2-1 verdict Sept. 6 at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium), B'ville knew exactly what the Hornets would try and do when it attacked.
As such, the defense was ready. Josh Katz, Ryan Wells, Brandon Carnovale and the rest of the Bees' back line interrupted just about every F-M attack long before it go to the net. This helped goalkeeper P.J. Goodwin rest a bit, as he only had to make three saves.
Following its own unsuccessful probes, the Bees broke through in the 22nd minute when, from the right side, Hobie Ramin crushed a shot past Hornets goalie Alex Cameron Carter inside the top left corner of the net.
That goal would hold up the rest of the way. Only in the last 10 minutes did F-M get a series of close chances but, again, saw them denied.
This gave the Bees as much momentum as possible going into Tuesday night's showdown with undefeated, state Class AA no. 3-ranked Cicero-North Syracuse at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.
The prelude to F-M and CNS was an emphatic declaration of intentions during last Tuesday's game against West Genesee at Pelcher-Arcaro, an all-out assault that wasn't complete until the Bees had pasted the Wildcats 8-0.
If WG wondered that the hosts might have been looking ahead, that notion got squashed the moment B'ville scored in the game's opening minute.