When the most successful senior class in the history of the Baldwinsville boys soccer program departs, what is the next step?
That would be the 2009 season, a challenge for both head coach Tim Scheemaker and his new group of starters, all of whom waited their turn and are eager to maintain the Bees' place atop the Class AA ranks.
Not only did B'ville win the Section III Class AA title in both 2007 and '08, it reached the state final four last autumn, doing so with 13 seniors at the heart of its effort.
Now they are gone, a group that includes P.J. Goodwin, Mason Collins, Ryan Wells, Kyle Rogers, Brandon Carnovale, Austin Buckley, Hobie Ramin, Ryan Evans, Paul Klopfer and Sean St. Denis. Put together, they seem impossible to follow.
But all insist that the latest group of Bees can three-peat, and in Wednesday's opener against Cicero-North Syracuse, they held up well, even if a goal late in regulation pushed the Northstars past the Bees 1-0.
Even though it was the first meeting between B'ville and CNS since the '08 sectional final, the changes in personnel, combined with the early-season vibe, kept things from getting too heated.
Instead, the two sides were mostly docile in the first half, mostly because of effective defense. The Bees' new back line, including Ben Ramin, Mike Guardino, Matt Boyle and Jake Lunduski, cut off all the attempts by the Northstars (who scored 13 goals in its first two games) to pass through them.
As the second half wore on, though, CNS got better chances. That gave Alex Bono, Goodwin's successor in goal, some chances to shine. Twice, he robbed Logan Roberts of possible goals in the late stages on his way to accumulating 11 saves.
But just when it looked like yet another overtime chapter in this rivalry, CNS's Kenny Cooper got in front of the net and, with 1:24 left, took a perfect cross from Miles Crouse on the left side and headed it past Bono for the game-winner.
B'ville will host its annual Kickoff Classic on Friday and Saturday at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium.