From being four goals down with barely three minutes to play, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team nearly rescued a gigantic victory in last Friday night's rain-soaked opener against Baldwinsville at Bragman Stadium.
Yet even with that ferocious rally, the Northstars could only make it to overtime with the Bees, and in the end, had to absorb a 14-12 defeat.
Still, the game proved many different things, including that CNS could hang close to any future foe in the toughest Class A league in the state.
The Northstars return eight starters from 2008, including standouts like Tori Praino, Ashley Waldron and goalie Alex Gale.
Each of them would play a vital role against B'ville, which had a decided advantage in that it had already played twice, beating Saratoga Springs and Fayetteville-Manlius.
As a soaking rain fell in the first half, CNS grabbed an early 3-1 edge, all on goals by Waldron and Praino. Meanwhile, Gale was using her athleticism to earn some spectacular point-blank saves to keep B'ville out of the net.
But that didn't last, as the Bees used three straight goals to pull in front. Even when the Northstars rallied twice, B'ville kept answering, and CNS had a 6-5 halftime deficit.
For a while, CNS went cold, not scoring for more than 19 minutes. And even though the drought ended, the Northstars still found itself down 11-7 as regulation time wound down, the game appearing out of reach.
Waldron began the turnaround when she scored with 3:16 left. Then Rachel Geruso stepped up, converting with 1:49 left, then striking again 34 seconds later after Waldron won the ensuing draw.
Again, Waldron won a draw, leading to another CNS push -- and the tying goal, Praino flinging a shot past Casey Chiesa with 44.9 seconds left.
With B'ville reeling, the Northstars won yet another draw and got a chance to win it in regulation. However, Chiesa stopped Praino, point-blank, with 22 seconds left, sending the game into a pair of three-minute overtime periods.
They exchanged goals to make it 12-12, Praino getting her fifth goal, but Quincey Spagnoletti hit on back-to-back scoring plays in the last 20 seconds of the first OT, and they proved to be the game-winners.
Praino finished with five goals, as Waldron got four goals. Ashley Caporizzo also scored on this night, with Alyssa Cristaldi getting credit for an assist. Spagnoletti (four goals), Kara Moschetti and Jen Fabian (three goals each) led B'ville's attack.
When the weather turned worse on Saturday, the CNS boys team found itself unable to face Baldwinsville, as it got postponed.