Once again, the Christian Brothers Academy boys soccer team found itself in the OHSL Freedom division, lining up against its neighbors.
When the Brothers met East Syracuse-Minoa last Wednesday night and, in a wild, back-and-forth affair, made the final surge to beat the Spartans 5-3.
ESM, the defending Class A champions, had, despite replacing many of its starters from 2007, started 4-1-1 and looked as a threat to repeat. Not caring one bit, the Brothers dominated the first half and threatened to turn the game into a romp.
Sars Bowman sliced right through ESM's defense and scored 3:29 into the game. Conor Letcher converted a penalty kick to make it 2-0, and when freshman Emanuel Collins found the net in the 32nd minute, the Brothers had a 3-0 edge and were ripe to run far away.
Only the Spartans did not let them. Less than two minutes after Collins' goal, a CBA foul inside the 18-yard box gave Jimmy Chayka a penalty kick, which he converted.
Though down 3-1 at halftime, the Spartans' pressure increased, and so did the productivity. Off the rebound of a shot that hit the post in the 49th minute, Adam Rowell blasted a shot home that made it 3-2, and when Chayka returned to score get his second goal three minutes later, it was a 3-3 tie.
That last goal seemed to sound the alarm. CBA tightened on defense, then turned its attack over to highly-touted sophomore Kris Triana. A shot from the left side in the 56th minute pushed the Brothers back in front 4-3, and Triana came back to convert again with 11:44 to play, accounting for the final margin.
CBA's season began on Labor Day weekend, with a split of games during tournament play in the Albany area.
The Brothers beat Troy LaSalle 2-1, both goals coming from Kris Traina in the first half as Pat Wiese picked up the assists. Splitting time in the net, Jake Stephens and Dave Anderson had 10 total saves.
But CBA lost 4-1 to the LaSalle club from Rhode Island, never recovering from a first half where LaSalle went up 3-0. Kyle Chase, off a feed from Emmanuel Collins, had CBA's lone goal.
Then OHSL Freedom play began last Monday night when the Brothers dominated against visiting Fulton at Alibrandi, beating the Red Raiders 3-0.
Matt Oot took his turn to step up, helping CBA pull clear after a tight first half as he earned two goals. Collins, who assisted on one of Oot's tallies, had the other goal, with Chase and Nick Welch picking up assists.