Perhaps a new face on the sidelines has brought an extra jolt of excitement to the Liverpool girls soccer team in 2008.
Kevin MacGrane, an assistant on the boys team in 2007, has taken over the duties once held by Bernie Dziczkaniec, who left to take an assistant coach's job at SUNY-Cortland.
Immediately, MacGrane faced the tall task of replacing 14 seniors from a team that, after a poor regular season, sprang several upsets and went to the Section III Class AA finals a season ago before falling to archrival Cicero-North Syracuse.
Knowing that his team's strength lay in returning attackers like Nikki Liadka and Gabby Racines, MacGrane has put together an attacking style that, in some way, contrasts with the more conservative approach of Liverpool teams in recent years.
That style certainly was evident in last Friday's opener against West Genesee. Battling 90-degree heat, the Warriors jumped out quickly and never let up until it had a 5-2 victory over the Wildcats.
Liverpool's energy transcended the heat as it quickly wore down the Wildcats and raced to a 3-0 halftime edge. WG would break through a couple of times in the second half, but the Warriors kept answering.
Liadka, in particular, had a lot of fun as she poured in a three-goal hat trick, the first of her varsity career. Racines and Hannah Anthes also scored, while Allison Flood earned two assists. Melanie Sarko, Kathleen Conese and Ally Muehlemann also had assists.
Another big test awaited Monday afternoon, when the Warriors had the first of two meetings in nine days with Fayetteville-Manlius, who was off to a 4-0 start that included a 2-1 win over CNS last Friday at Swan Pond.
Faced with the new and improved Hornets model, the Warriors did not flinch, and, led by Racines, took out the Hornets 3-1.