If, as many expect, the Baldwinsville and Cicero-North Syracuse girls soccer teams end up playing for the Section III Class AA title at the end of this month, then fans on both sides have a whole lot to look forward to.
For when the Bees and Northstars had their much-anticipated summit meeting last Tuesday night at Archie Hall Stadium, it would take most of two overtime periods before B'ville was able to slip away with a 2-1 victory.
CNS is the defending AA champions, and started 8-3-1 this year despite a rash of injuries to key players like Julianne Viviano and Brittany Myles. Also, it had seen its leading scorer from 2007, Nicole Close, transfer to B'ville, igniting a lot of talk from fans on both sides.
Clad in red instead of blue, Close cheerfully greeted her former teammates and players before the game, and then the work got underway.
Right from the start, the Bees controlled much of the action, attacking the CNS defense with frequency and fury. Somehow, the Northstars resisted, and made sure the first half ended in a 0-0 draw.
This continued well into the second half, with B'ville wondering if it could push anything past the Northstars' tremendous goalkeeper, Chelsea Dunay, who would finish with 12 saves.
Finally, in the 64th minute, the Bees broke through. When a shot ricocheted off the left post, it went right to Alexis Coughlin, who poked the ball past Dunay into the net.
That lead lasted exactly 27 seconds. On the ensuing kickoff, CNS attacked hard from the wing. When a crossing pass by Taylor D'Alfonso slipped off the hands of B'ville goalie Casey Chiesa, Katie Jachim pounced and shot it home, tying it 1-1.
So it would stay through the end of regulation, plus a 10-minute overtime period and most of the second OT, and a tie seemed likely.
But just 1:18 before the game ended, B'ville drew a corner kick. Coughlin watched the ball go to the middle, then ring off the post before Meghan Haney fired the ball into the net for the game-winner.
As a follow-up on Thursday night, the Bees (14-1, no. 11 in the state Class AA rankings) returned to a shutout mode, easily getting past Henninger in a 4-0 decision.
Patient and persistent, the Bees pulled away after leading 1-0 at halftime. Coughlin, Ali Nagle, Quincey Spagnoletti and Laura Hanford each took turns scoring, with Nagle and Spagnoletti adding assists.