In the most dramatic way possible, the Liverpool field hockey team claimed the first round in what is sure to be a season-long duel with Cicero-North Syracuse for both CNY Counties League and Section III Class A supremacy.
Alyssa Renk's goal at the end of regulation, combined with Beth Lamison's tally one minute to overtime, pushed the Warriors past the Northstars 4-3 last Tuesday night at Bragman Stadium -- the same turf where the sectional and state finals will take place later this fall.
Going into this classic, both teams were undefeated -- Liverpool at 5-0, CNS at 4-0. Both had separated themselves from the rest of the local Class A crowd through potent offense and consistent, strong defense.
Thus, the matchup of the two neighbors and fierce rivals (who have, between them, won the last three sectional Class A titles) already had a lot of anticipation. The game they played only made things better.
Liverpool jumped right out and attacked early, finding little success at first because CNS closed ranks around goalie Nicole Gillette and protected her well.
But 12:33 into the first half, the Northstars got caught out of position and Liverpool broke out, three-on-one. Kayla DeAngelis worked the ball down the right side and passed it to Marybeth Madia. When the defense rushed to Madia, she fed it to Rachel Grannel, whose shot crashed into the net past Gillette.
Down 1-0, CNS didn't fret. Less than four minutes later, its deadly set-play attack struck on a penalty corner when Lucia Meola, off a great feed from Alex Gale, ripped a shot from the point past Liverpool goaile Mikey Meagher, tying it 1-1.
That same set play worked again, but in a different way, when Meola's wide shot got deflected high into the net by Ciera Lang, pushing CNS in front 2-1, the first time the Warriors had faced a deficit all season, and it remained that way until halftime.