All the work the Fayetteville-Manlius girls lacrosse team put into its 2010 season reflected itself in the last minutes of a dramatic 10-9 victory over Baldwinsville in Friday's Section III Class A semifinal at Christian Brothers Academy's Alibrandi Stadium.
First it was the Hornets' defense putting up tremendous resistance and shutting out the Bees in the game's final 9 1/2 minutes, giving F-M time to recover from what been a three-goal deficit early in the second half.
Then it was F-M's transition game shining once more in Alex Murphy's game-winning goal with 22.7 seconds to play, coming at the end of a series of passes, the last one thrown by Mollie Caputo.
And finally, it was Caroline Trpcevski in the net, standing her ground and blocking Sam Yaro's possible tying shot as the clock ran out, sending F-M into Tuesday's Class A final against defending champion West Genesee at SUNY-Cortland.
All these elements have been put together by first-year head coach Kate Noel to transform the Hornets from uncertain potential to flourishing results.
That process arguably began the first time F-M played B'ville, on April 20 at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium. In an exciting, back-and-forth affair, F-M pulled out a 15-14 win, foreshadowing the playoffs to come - but only in the slim margin.
Mostly, what had changed in the ensuing six weeks was the way the Hornets played on the back line in Trpcevski's protection.
That manifested itself in the rematch after F-M saw four different first-half leads vanish and B'ville streak out in front, 7-4, early in the second half.
Led by seniors Meg Helmer, Chrissy Primo, Kieley O'Connor-Chapman and Jess Lavelle, F-M ran right with B'ville's deep pool of attackers, never letting them get many open looks. And when the shots were taken, Trpcevski, who had 14 saves, would turn them back.