At least until Monday afternoon, the belief felt within the Fayetteville-Manlius girls lacrosse team had not spread far beyond its realm.
That changed, though, when the Hornets went to Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium and fought past Baldwinsville 15-14 in the only regular-season meeting between the two long-time powers.
"This was a huge game for us," first-year coach Katie Noel said. "This is a very confident and calm group of girls, and I trust them to run the game plan."
Against the Bees, Noel said, the game plan involved dictating the tempo and playing high-quality defense, a difficult chore against a team as deep and potent as B'ville.
F-M signaled its intentions early, not letting the Bees pull away even though the hosts took a 4-2 lead.
Sure enough, the Hornets put together five unanswered goals - two each by Mollie Caputo and Taylor Robinson, plus one from Marri Ryu. All the while, Sarah Lux kept feeing passes to the middle on her way to a season-best six assists.
Even though B'ville closed the margin to 8-7 by halftime, F-M kept its poise, then proceeded to break out again in the first 10 minutes of the second half with four more goals, increasing the lead to 12-8.
It was still 13-9 when, once more, the Bees charged. In a span of barely two minutes, it scored four times, capped by Megan Ward finding the net with 11:52 to play, tying the game 13-13.
Just like before, F-M would not panic. It got the ball back and saw Morgan Same hit on a free-position goal with 6:08 to play. When Marilyn Farrell converted her third tally of the second half with 4:01 left, the Hornets had a 15-13 edge.
Making one last comeback, B'ville cut the margin to one on Mackenzie Kjerstad's goal with 3:35 left, but it turned the ball over on a free-position in the final two minutes, and the Hornets managed to run out the clock.
Both Farrell and Robinson, who had three goals apiece, gave aid to Caputo, who found the net five times. Kjerstad led B'ville with four goals.