Liverpool One attempt to win the game was made too soon. Another was on time, but stopped.
By that tiny margin, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys soccer team missed out on a chance to dethrone four-time defending champion Baldwinsville and play for the Section III Class AA title.
Instead, the no. 6 seed Northstars fell in a penalty-kick shoot-out to the no. 2 seed Bees Tuesday night at Liverpool High School Stadium, this after the two sides played to a 3-3 tie through regulation and overtime.
CNS had already pulled off one playoff surprise, going to Liverpool and upending the no. 3 seed Warriors 2-1 in the quarterfinals on Oct. 28. Now, on that same turf, it went after B’ville, who had beaten them 1-0 in their only regular-season encounter on Oct. 12.
It didn’t look good in the early going. Ben Ramin,the Bees’ star senior, constantly burned the Northstars in the first half, scoring twice and assisting on Adam Gentile’s tally as CNS, despite Anthony Baracco’s goal, trailed, 3-1, going into halftime.
Darren Cooper turned it around, scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the second half to create the 3-3 tie. And there it would stay, through the rest of regulation, as the two sides went to a pair of 15-minute “sudden victory” periods.
After the first OT went without resolution, CNS increased the pressure in the second OT. Just before it ended, Cooper appeared to win it with his shot to the top of the net, but the officials ruled he had shot before play was ready to resume, so it didn’t count.
This led to the shoot-out, five attempts for each side. Going first in each round, CNS was a perfect four-for-four, while B’ville missed once.
Thus, the Northstars could win it if the fifth shot went home. However, Bees goalie Alex Bono stopped it, and Trevor Pauldine’s conversion left it at 4-4, meaning one more round.
For the second time in a row, Bono made a stop, and when Blaine Drake beat Charles Willard, the Bees had survived, leaving CNS devastated at the end to a 12-6 campaign.