Though it would much rather have that honor at season's end, the Baldwinsville girls soccer team had to be proud of the fact that it rose to the top spot in the state Class AA rankings.
That honor arrived just before the Bees' most important regular-season trip, as it went to Liverpool Friday in search of the outright CNY Counties League National division regular-season title.
And the Bees would get it, fighting past the rain and the wind to hold off the Warriors 2-1 - the exact same margin by which B'ville prevailed in the first meeting between the two neighbors back on Sept. 17.
In that initial game at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, the Bees pulled it out on Emma Firenze's goal late in regulation. So the Bees knew that the Warriors would pose a real challenge, regardless of the conditions.
With all the precipitation in the air, and the gusty winds, B'ville had a difficult time in the first 20 minutes, rarely attacking and forced to work in its own end.
All that changed, though, when the Bees forced a free kick in the 21st minute. From the left side, Emma Firenze passed it to the middle - and Jackie Firenze banged a header past Tori Corsaro into the net.
The combined defensive work of Lena Vecchiarelli, Alexis Czyz and Sarah Lindovski paid off in this game as many of Liverpool's top players, including Kim Murphy and Nikki Carfi, rarely got chances in the Bees' end.
It was still 1-0 when, in the 57th minute, a good series of passes set up Jackie Firenze down the left side, and she flew in to beat Corsaro and doubled the Bees' margin.
Only in the late stages did the Warriors begin to attack with consistency. Taking advantage of a rare B'ville turnover, Amanda Heberger went in up the middle and beat Stephanie Lynch with 14:13 left to cut the margin to one, and the Warriors had a fair amount of atttacks in the homestretch, but could not force overtime.