In the course of going 16-2 in the 2010 season, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse conquered every opponent it faced -- except one. And that one elusive foe denied the Hornets a chance to end its 17-year wait for a Section III Class A title.
Even with a top seed, even with 20 seniors on its roster and even with momentum from a late-season win at West Genesee, F-M could not figure out Corcoran the second time around. And it led to a 13-10 defeat to the Cougars in last Tuesday night's Class A semifinal at Cicero-North Syracuse's Bragman Stadium.
Everyone on the Hornets' side figured this would be different from what took place on May 14. Back then, unbeaten F-M led at halftime and took more shots than Corcoran, but goalie Edmund Cathers made 16 saves and produced a second-half shutout, leading to an 8-6 upset.
Since that loss, the Hornets had appeared to regain its season-long form, starting the playoffs with a 17-5 romp over Rome Free Academy in the Class A quarterfinals on May 28.
What's more, the playoff seeding created a chance for payback against Corcoran, who drew the no. 4 seed and took out CNS 12-7 in its quarterfinal. F-M figured that, if it took better shots, it would move into yet another sectional final against West Genesee, who beat Liverpool 10-5 in the first Class A semifinal before the Hornets and Cougars took the field.
All through the early stages, F-M and Corcoran traded goals, so it was 3-3 early in the second period. Then, led by James Cathers, the Cougars tore the Hornets' highly regarded defense open with five more goals before the break.
Down 8-6 at the break (the same numbers as the final score of the first game), F-M's hopes of coming back got dashed when it could not get on the board in the third quarter, as Corcoran's lead grew to 11-6.