One comeback, apparently, was all the Cicero-North Syracuse girls soccer team could muster in the chilly air of last Wednesday's Section III Class AA semifinal at Nottingham High School.
The no. 6 seed Northstars, in a performance reflective of its season-long resilience, came from two goals down to force overtime against no. 2 seed Christian Brothers Academy, only to take a 4-3 defeat to the Brothers as the defense of its 2007 sectional title finally came to an end.
All season long, the Northstars had dealt with injuries and inconsistency, most notably the departure of top defender Brittany Myles and (for much of the fall) Julianne Viviano.
Yet CNS had made it this far, going to Swan Pond to knock off no. 3 seed Fayetteville-Manlius 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Oct. 24. What's more, it was rested, as compared to CBA, who had to wait until last Monday to complete its 2-0 quarterfinal win over Auburn after heavy pain postponed the original meeting.
And the Northstars got off to the right start, going up 1-0 less than six minutes into the game when Viviano belted a free kick into the net. CBA didn't stay down for too long, though, tying it in the 29th minute when Kara Modliszewski headed Chloe Zmolek's corner kick past goalie Chelsea Dunay.
In particular, the CNS defense struggled with CBA's speed and skill, especially in the second half when it had the cold 20 mile-per-hour wind at its back.
When Zmolek banked a shot off the left post into the net in the 52nd minute, CNS trailed, 2-1, and it got to 3-1 six minutes later when Alexis Koval made one of those runs and crushed a shot that Dunay had no chance of stopping.
Bottled up for a while, CNS needed some kind of spark. It came in the 62nd minute from Taylor D'Alfonso, who burst open and, taking a feed from Rachel Bowles, crushed a shot inside the left post to score and cut it to 3-2, with plenty of time left.