All the Cicero-North Syracuse boys soccer team has thought about in the last nine-plus months is the night of Nov. 4, 2008 - and the sight of Baldwinsville celebrating its second straight Section III Class AA title at the Northstars' expense in a 1-0 overtime thriller.
Fiercely motivated to take that last step and claim a championship this fall, the Northstars set out on its 2009 journey and pummeled both of its opponents on Labor Day weekend at a tournament played at Swan Pond, the home field of Fayetteville-Manlius.
CNS appeared to have a trick opening assignment on Friday against Rome Free Academy, who was 14-4-1 a season ago and boasted a first-rate goalkeeper in Dominic DiMaggio.
So much for appearances, as the Northstars got to DiMaggio and his teammates often in a 5-0 shutout.
By halftime, it was already 3-0, and more was on the way as Kenny Cooper broke free for two goals, adding an assist.
Gino Corasaniti put up one goal and one assist, with Josh Williams and Logan Roberts also converting. Zach MacNabb put up two assists.
By contrast, F-M, when it played RFA on Saturday, only won by a 3-1 margin, so as far as early comparisons between major contenders ago, the Northstars won out here.
Before the Hornets took the field, CNS had one more chance to shine - and used it well, whipping Watertown 7-1.
Both Roberts and Corasaniti found the net twice, pacing a high-powered offense where Kyle Brunson, Dillon McKee and Miles Crouse also netted goals.
In all, 10 different CNS players notched points, as Kyle Siegel earned two assists and Cooper, Williams, Alec Parzych and Collin Coogan got single assists.
on Wednesday, at Gillette Field, CNS meets B'ville, their first encounter since the '08 final - though the Bees are a far different team, thanks to heavy graduation losses.