When people say that patience pays off, it might be a cliche, but only because it comes true. At the very least, the Liverpool boys lacrosse team could vouch for it.
From using a zone to finding a zone, the Warriors maintained its patience and focus throughout a cold, blustery Thursday afternoon to earn a 5-4 victory over previously unbeaten Fayetteville-Manlius to improve its record to 6-1.
At one point early in the fourth quarter, Liverpool trailed F-M, the state's no. 7-ranked Class A team, by a 4-2 margin. But it used goals by Kyle DeAngelis and Joe Corapi to pull even at 4-4, then took the lead when DeAngelis charged in from the right side and beat Hornets goalie Stefan Basile with 1:37 to play.
Still, the game wasn't sealed until Dominick Madonna, the Warriors' sophomore goalie, stopped Ari Waffle's shot as time expired. It was the only shot F-M could get off in a possession that covered the last minute of regulation - and symbolized Liverpool's entire approach to the game.
Having used a man-to-man defense in a 13-9 win over Baldwinsville two days earlier, Warriors first-year head coach Mike Felice reverted to a zone for F-M, just as he had done April 7 against West Genesee. Eventually the Wildcats solved the zone and handed Liverpool its only loss of the season, 17-6, but the Hornets never caught on.
Typically, six players would surround Madonna, including defenders Bryan Capone, Luigi Barletta and Mike Czachowski, and pack in tight. This forced the Hornets outside, and while it could pass the ball around at will, it rarely could find an open look anywhere near the net.
So long minutes would pass and, despite controlling the ball, F-M was unable to convert. This allowed Liverpool to lead deep into the first half, as goals by Caropi and Matt Savlov put the hosts up 2-1 before Derek Andrake's bouncing shot found the net 3.5 seconds before halftime to tie it 2-2.