A new season for the Chittenango girls soccer team commenced with three games in five days, and while it didn't start out all that well, it sure did turn around.
The Bears are coming off a 2008 campaign where it went 11-6-3, falling in the Section III Class A semifinals to Jamesville-DeWitt in a rare October snowstorm.
Just five seniors graduated -- and with the likes of Bethany Macera, Jenna Barber, Brittney Tirabassi, Jamie Elderbroom, Shannon Willey and Brigid St. Leger back, Chittenango has reason to feel like another good season could be in the works.
As the schedule worked out, though, the Bears would open with a rematch against J-D on its home turf -- and fell hard, losing to the Red Rams 3-0.
J-D came in with a huge advantage, having played twice (and won its own "King of the Hill" Tournament) over Labor Day weekend, while the Bears were on the field for the first time.
Between them, St. Leger and Willey would make 10 saves. However, J-D got one goal in the first half, then added two more after the break to get clear. Tara Prosak, Tessa Devereaux and Emily Elbers scored on the Rams' behalf.
From here, Chittenango proceeded a few miles to the south to the Cazenovia Tournament, played Friday and Saturday at the Fenner Street complex.
Fuming at the way it played against J-D, the Bears took out that anger on the hosts, sending Cazenovia in full retreat as it produced a 4-1 victory over the Lakers.
With Barber and Tirabassi in top form, Chittenango had a 3-0 edge by halftime and never let up. By game's end, Barber and Tirabassi each had produced two goals and one assist, with Jamie Elderbroom adding an assist of her own.
All this momentum carried over into Saturday's game against Oneida, where the Bears were twice as productive in dismantling the Indians 8-0.
Steadily, Chittenango kept building on the margin, with Barber the chief catalyst as she put up four goals and an assist, for a weekend total of six goals and two assists.
Behind her, Christina Zehr stepped up, scoring twice, while Tirabassi backed up her single goal with three assists. Elderbroom also had three assists as Carlie Roman notched the other goal. Shelby Chase had an assist, too.
So began a stretch where the Bears would play nine of 10 games on the road, including trips this week to Homer, Mexico and CBA.