For a program accustomed to championship glory, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys soccer team has waited, by its standards, a long time to get on top again.
Five years since it last earned a Section III Class AA title, the Hornets go into the playoffs as the top seed, and full of confidence borne out of having an experienced lineup and winning in every kind of manner this fall.
True, there's been some close calls - especially the rallies to win at West Genesee Sept. 20 and against Baldwinsville Oct. 13, each by 2-1 margins - but more typical was last Tuesday's 5-0 romp over Utica Proctor at Swan Pond.
Steadily working its way to a 2-0 halftime lead, the Hornets kept adding to the margin as all the main stars got involved. Kris Alestalo scored twice, with Joe Mahr and Anthony Restante each getting one goal and one assist. Tyler Forbes got the other goal, with Halie Marr and Zach Charles earning single assists.
On Thursday night, at Sunnycrest Park, F-M beat Henninger 7-0, getting most of that production from its lesser-known players in the second half after inching its way to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Kyle Lunney stepped up and, in a career-best performance, had two goals and two assists. John Shomar also found the net twice as Dan Rutkowski and Matt Hartzheim each had one goal and one assist. Alex Baynes got the other goal as Brian Ward and Connor Hennessy picked up one assist apiece.
F-M's girls soccer team began its homestretch by going to Utica Proctor and blanking the Raiders by the same 5-0 margin that the boys used.
Most of it came in the second half, where a 1-0 margin turned lopsided. Bri Dolan had two goals, while Michaela Steadman, Cheyenne Hall and Allison Baynes also scored. Alexis Muraco produced a pair of assists as Morgan Same and Brenna Kincaid landed assists, too.
Back at Swan Pond Thursday night, the Hornets blanked Henninger 6-0, as Dolan again found the net twice and added an assist. Kincaid and Same each had one goal and one assist, while Hall and Rebecca Bowyer also converted. Baynes had two assists and Steadman got an assist, too.