Hartford had it tougher in Division II, needing overtime just to get out of the sectional finals, but then handling the rest to go back-to-back as it beat Queensbury 5-2 in front of the home folks in Utica.
The fall brought four more instances of great teams reaching the top spot. Three were quite familiar, while the other took the perfect route.
It was, of course, the Skaneateles boys soccer Lakers going 22-0 and winning it all in Class B. To do that required a deep and lethal offense, a superb defense (two goals allowed in the entire post-season) and some amount of good fortune. It also meant beating good local Class AA teams (CNS, West Genesee, CBA) and handling the pressure of staying
undefeated, which they did, to say the least.
For two other state champions, it was an event years in the making. Baldwinsville, in Class AA girls volleyball, had made the sectional title part routine, but had just missed in two previous trips to the state Class AA show in Glens Falls. This time, with a deep front line and two rock-solid anchors in the back (Brianna Stewart to set, Becca Maher to defend), the Bees survived the round-robin and two deficits to Webster Schroeder and pulled it out in five.
In the case of Cazenovia's field hockey Lakers, it was the same story - a lot of sectional success, but nothing more, prior to 2010. It all fit this time, though, especially a record-setting offense where Tori Widrick, Belle Hoagland, Abby Eschen and Jillian Vogl supplied the goals. And it was Vogl, with two tallies in the state semifinal and the overtime game-winner in the finals, that had the final say to get her school a first-ever team state championship.
Now here comes the unfair part. Each of the above teams has made their communities proud, going as far as one can in our system, with no real chance to compare them to other great programs across the country.