Warriors eliminated by B'ville in AA semis

Just a couple more minutes on a frigid Wednesday evening in Syracuse, and the Liverpool girls soccer team would find itself in overtime, with yet another chance to ruin Baldwinsville's season in the Section III Class AA semifinals.

However, the Bees short-circuited those plans, overcoming the wind, snow and slick field conditions at Nottingham to beat the Warriors 1-0.

Liverpool and B'ville were playing in the exact same round of the playoffs as they had in 2007, when the Warriors prevailed.

Now, as then, the Bees were a top seed and overwhelming favorite, while Liverpool was a no. 4 seed still trying to fight its way back to the top of the sectional ranks.

Without a doubt, the conditions helped. Two inches of snow would coat the Nottingham turf, taking away speed and making things easier for both defensive sides.

And the Warriors played quite well in the first half. Megan Murphy took over at midfield for Julia Bruno, who was injured late in Liverpool's AA quarterfinal win over Watertown on Oct. 24, and did a solid job.

On the back line, defenders Ally Muehlemann, Erika Salem and Carly Bonzerato gave the deep, potent B'ville attack all kinds of problems. Goalkeeper Noel Peck worked her way to nine saves, including a diving stop on Jen Fabian's low shot midway through the half.

At halftime, it was 0-0, and Liverpool kept it even through much of the second half, too. Attackers like Gabby Racines and Nikki Liadka kept pushing the ball into B'ville's end, but even with the wind advantage, it couldn't break through, either.

As long as the game remained even, though, the Warriors could imagine another playoff upset. But with 1:48 left in regulation, Peck got caught out of the crease as Amanda Wolgemuth lofted a shot over her head into the unoccupied net, and it proved to be decisive.

The Warriors finished its first season under new head coach Kevin McGrane at 12-6-2. Just three seniors graduate and only one of them, Kristen Zylka, started.

A big returning class in 2009, which includes Peck, Muehlemann, Salem, Bonzerato, Racines, Liadka, Bruno, Melanie Sarko, Alison Flood, Marlee Heintz, Kim Murphy, Megan Murphy, Kathleen Conese and Hannah Anthes, could mean that Liverpool is on top again.

B'ville, meanwhile, moves on to face CBA in Friday night's title game at 7:30 at Chittenango High School.

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