With one sensational season, the Baldwinsville girls soccer team elevated its profile -- and now has to wonder how it will stay there.
All the Bees did in 2008 was go 20-2 and advance all the way to the state Class AA final four, led in large part by a group of 11 seniors that had endured a fair share of heartache in previous seasons.
Now that group, which included Quincey Spagnoletti, Nicole Close, Jen Fabian, Ali Nagle, Katie VandeValk and goalie Casey Chiesa, has departed, and head coach Kathy Morse faced the large challenge of keeping B'ville on top against a pack of hungry challengers.
In its season opener last Tuesday night, the Bees met Mercy, from Rochester, and took a 1-0 defeat at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. Mercy won the Section V Class A title a season ago.
B'ville had all kinds of chances to convert, taking twice as many shots (20) as Mercy, but could get nothing in the net as Mercy's goalkeeper, Theresa Clancy, got credited with 14 saves.
Meanwhile, B'ville's Maggie Monnat had six saves and nearly got her team through regulation at 0-0. But with three minutes left in the second half, Mercy's Daniela Cianci beat two defenders, then ripped a 20-yard shot past Monnat into the top left corner of the net.
Just 24 hours later, the Bees were at Swan Pond, taking on Fayetteville-Manlius in its CNY Counties League opener -- and getting into the win column with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Hornets.
Neither side could convert in the first half, but B'ville's Emma Firenze took care of that problem once the break ended.
Just a ninth-grader (but with varsity experience from '08), Firenze's deft passes set up Megan Haney and Jamie Schmidt for second-half goals that offset a tally by F-M's Jessica Straub. Monnat's six saves would help, too.