Why is it that the 2010 Section III soccer playoffs look so familiar? Well, because it is.
Again, we have seen few surprises on the boys side, as top seeds mostly glided through the opening rounds stress-free. Contrast that with the wild experiences on the girls side where, among other things, the defending champions in Class AA and B are out.
CBA benefited from top seed Baldwinsville's abrupt departure in the quarterfinals in 2009. Now it was the Brothers' turn to slip through the trapdoor, outplaying F-M most of the night, but watching Brenna Kincaid land the only goal in a 1-0 classic at Alibrandi Stadium. The sight of CBA players not leaving the field minutes after the game's end, stunned, was quite poignant.
So the Bees, who blasted Oswego with five first-half goals, have an easy path, right? Well, not with Liverpool to worry about in Tuesday's semifinals, since the Warriors played B'ville as tough as anyone in a pair of 2-1 games this fall. And CNS had to just love the F-M upset, because it beat the Hornets in the regular season, but got crushed by CBA. That's called more manageable.
As with Class AA, the shadow of 2009 hung over the Class B bracket, too. One year, Watertown IHC exploited upsets to ride to the title. This time, it was the Cavaliers as both top seed and top target, Westhill going north to score twice in the last 10 minutes to upend IHC. Now, we could get yet another Westhill-Marcellus final, with the Mustangs rolling along (though it obviously won't look past Skaneateles) and the Warriors in a manageable semifinal against Mount Markham.
In between all this, J-D has to climb past Cortland to keep its quest for back-to-back Class A titles alive. The Purple Tigers survived an OT classic with archrival Homer to get a third shot at the potent Red Rams, while Whitesboro had the same kind of headache with New Hartford, but now takes the measure of Chittenango's magnificent goalie, Brigid St. Leger, who all but carried the Bears past Camden.