Here, just a week into the 2008 season, the Baldwinsville boys soccer team confronted the same formidable opponent it conquered a season ago to win its first-ever Section III Class AA title -- and once again conquered them.
Even if the Bees' 2-1 victory over Fayetteville-Manlius in the team's Kickoff Classic was little more than a non-league warmup for bigger battles ahead, it still showed that the Bees, when behind, could rally.
F-M did not start its top goalkeeper, Alex Cameron-Carter, instead using Cameron Kanter in the net. That would prove important, especially after the Hornets went out in front 1-0 when Shane Ramage scored off a feed from Jim Forbes.
Early in the second half, the Bees tied it, 1-1, as Sean St. Denis fed Kyle Mulligan for that goal. Minutes later, St. Denis struck again, finding Paul Klopfer, whose shot eluded Kanter and proved to be the game-winner.
Protecting that slim lead, P.J. Goodwin made four saves as defenders like Brandon Carnovale, Josh Katz and Ryan Wells kept F-M from tying it again. The two sides will meet again Oct. 4 at Swan Pond
Two days earlier, in the opening phase of the Kickoff Classic, the Bees faced Liverpool, the first of two meetings against the Warriors in a span of six days. B'ville struggled to gain control, but found the alarm at the right time to beat the Warriors 3-1.
The Bees went in front when, 7:07 into the game, Klopfer scored on a header fed from the right corner by Ryan Evans. Yet B'ville couldn't add to it, and Liverpool played on even terms the rest of the half.
Then, in the 51st minute, the Warriors jolted the Bees when Alessio Vitale took a pass from Ryan Tibbets, streaked through the B'ville defense and ripped a shot past Goodwin, tying it 1-1.
Beyond anything else, that goal seemed to wake up the Bees. Less than three minutes later, on a corner kick, Evans headed Brandon Carnovale's cross into the net, putting his team back up 2-1. St. Denis added his own insurance goal with 12:30 to play.
B'ville has its rematch with Liverpool on Tuesday, then hosts Oswego Thursday night before a pair of weekend games at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, site of the state boys soccer championships each November.