What is it about the Baldwinsville boys soccer team, Cicero-North Syracuse, and the date Nov. 4? It sure seems to agree with the Bees, to say the least.
On Nov. 4, 2008, at West Genesee High School's turf field, the Bees beat the Northstars 1-0 in overtime to win its second consecutive Section III Class AA championship.
Exactly one year later -- Nov. 4, 2009 -- and in the exact same West Genesee venue, B'ville ruined CNS's championship dreams again, this time as an underdog in a Class AA semifinal that went to a penalty-kick shoot-out before getting settled.
Aside from full turnover of personnel, much had changed in the 12 months since that '08 final. CNS, in fact, had appeared to become the team to beat in Class AA, having gone 14-0-2 in the regular season and dominated Rome Free Academy in its playoff quarterfinal.
By contrast, B'ville was 12-5, and two of those defeats had come to CNS in 1-0 decisions. The new cast of starters had done an admirable job, but the consensus view was that it could not quite measure up to those championship teams of the previous two campaigns.
Yet being freed from the pressure of expecting to win seemed to liberate B'ville, at least in the early going of this third and most important '09 battle with CNS.
In the game's 13th minute, Dan Knight got open in front of the net and pushed a header home. CNS countered in the 21st minute, as a free kick turned into a scramble and Gino Corasaniti punched a shot that eluded B'ville goalie Andrew Coughlin to tie it, 1-1.
Each side played at a high level through the rest of the first half, then an entire second half, without resolving a thing as the defenses took over.