Just when it looked like the Liverpool girls soccer team was breezing toward a date in the Section III Class AA semifinals, West Genesee ruined all the plans.
A single, explosive stretch of scoring was all it took for the Wildcats to stun the Warriors, 2-1, in last Friday's AA quarterfinal. As a result, Liverpool has now gone eight seasons since its last outright sectional title, won in 2001.
Blessed with depth, experience and lots of defense, Liverpool took a no. 3 seed into the AA tournament, and it expected to make a long run.
As wind and rain howled through its home turf, the Warriors did little to discourage that sentiment during the first half, dominating West Genesee, the no. 6 seed, on both ends of the field.
Yet all the Warriors could manage during this period was a single goal, which came midway through the half when Julia Bruno, from the left side, fed it to Alison Flood, whose low shot sailed past Wildcat goalie Moriah Saidel into the net.
Well into the second half, it remained 1-0, the Warriors still controlling the flow of play. In a span of three minutes, though, that all changed.
On a rare Wildcat push, Morgan Corso flung a shot past Liverpool goalie Noel Peck to tie it. As Liverpool tried to regroup, Corso's teammate, Emily Tripodi, beat Peck for the go-ahead goal, her first of the season.
Try as it could, Liverpool could not answer, and its season ended with a record of 12-4-1 as WG advanced to the semifinals against CBA.
Before all this, the Liverpool boys team entered its version of the AA playoffs as a no. 7 seed and fell, 3-0, to Utica Proctor in last Thursday night's quarterfinal round.
Continuing its turnaround, Proctor wore away at the Warriors. Though it only trailed 1-0 at the break, Liverpool could not prevent the Raiders from getting clear as Armin Budnjo, Yo Yoh and Adis Dervisevic each scored. The Warriors finished with a mark of 8-9.