Still unbeaten, the Manlius-Pebble Hill boys soccer team earned a new honor when, early last week, the new state rankings came out - and the Trojans were in the top spot.
Now the task for MPH was to defend that position against challengers inside and outside the OHSL Patriot division.
Amid the cold rain last Tuesday afternoon on its home turf, the Trojans completed a regular-season sweep of long-time rival Faith Heritage, beating the Saints 5-0.
As MPH gradually pulled away after earning a 2-0 halftime lead, Mike Kardjian continually tormented the Faith Heritage defense, not stopping until he had registered two goals and two assists.
The Trojans moved on Thursday to beat Cato-Meridian 8-2, a game where it notched four goals in each half and set a blistering pace.
Back on Oct. 2, the Trojans visited Cazenovia, a recent rival when MPH was up in the Liberty division, and fought hard for a 2-0 shutout of the Lakers.
MPH's back line was strong throughout the afternoon, denying Cazenovia whenever it attacked, as Jordan Gentile finished with six saves. Though the Trojans' own attack was modest, Lee and Hansen both notched goals, with Goldman earning an assist.
The MPH girls team, hovering around the .500 mark all season, remained there in the wake of last Monday night's 1-1 draw with Onondaga.
The Trojans then ran into unbeaten, state-ranked Bishop Ludden on Thursday and watched the Gaelic Knights improve to 10-0-1 by beating them 4-0.
MPH would win on Friday, edging Faith Heritage 2-1 as Katie Blanford and Haviland Hawkins used first-half goals to give their side a 2-0 lead. Alexandra Forsythe scored for the Saints in the second half, but the Trojans' heavy pressure (it had 21 shots to Faith's two) prevented a full comeback.
As the girls Trojans await games against Cato and Pulaski this week, the MPH boys team would challenge Tully on Tuesday before going to Fabius-Pompey Thursday night.