A slowdown was the last thing the Fayetteville-Manlius boys lacrosse team needed on a Thursday afternoon that veered far closer to winter than spring.
Yet that's what Liverpool delivered, and it led to the Hornets taking its first loss of the season in a 5-4 decision that was, for the visitors in green, one long exercise in frustration.
F-M, who entered the game at 6-0 and no. 7 in the state Class A rankings, saw a 4-2 lead slip away in the fourth quarter, and when it tried to pull back even in the closing seconds, Ari Waffle's shot got swallowed up by Liverpool goalie Domnick Madonna as time ran out.
The bigger story, though, was how Liverpool used a packed-in zone defense to stifle F-M, who had not played in a week, since blanking Utica Proctor 24-0 on April 14 - and were not helped by conditions where the winds gusted above 30 miles per hour.
Just about any time F-M would attack, Liverpool would squeeze six defenders in two lines around Madonna. The Hornets could freely pass around the circle, but would either settle for low-percentage outside shots or, when it tried to go inside, turn the ball over.
All this helped Liverpool lead 2-1 before Derek Andrake's goal in the waning seconds of the first half tied it up, 2-2. And there it stayed until late in the third quarter, when Andrake and Dan Cahill both converted, putting the Hornets ahead 4-2.
Try as it could, though, F-M could not pull further away and, by doing so, pull the Warriors out of its zone. Gaining confidence, Liverpool fought back, using goals by Kyle DeAngelis and Joe Corapi to tie it again, 4-4, the latter coming with 7:15 left.
When DeAngelis returned to beat Stefan Basile (who finished with 10 saves) with 1:37 left in regulation, F-M trailed by one. The Hornets forced a turnover, used both of its time-outs to set up a play that would force overtime, only to get nothing until Waffle's last shot.