Oct 29, 2011 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Perhaps there are sweeter ways for the Cicero-North Syracuse boys soccer team to move ahead in the Section III Class AA playoffs – like, say, ending the reign of four-time defending champion Baldwinsville.
For now, though, the no. 6 seed Northstars will gladly accept knocking off its other main rival, Liverpool, on the Warriors’ home turf to end its season, which it did Friday night in a 2-1 decision during the AA quarterfinals.
All the indicators were in Liverpool’s favor. As CNS muddled through the second half of its regular season, the Warriors were in top form, having dismissed West Genesee 6-0 in its regular-season finale. And it had beaten the Northstars 2-1 on this same LHS Stadium turf Oct. 14.
However, CNS did remember that it had won the first meeting with Liverpool 3-1 at LeMoyne College back on Sept. 17, and in this third and most important encounter, the Northstars proved a step quicker right from the start.
Defenses ruled in a 0-0 first half that featured few real scoring opportunities. Jake Parzych, T.J. Sprague, Billy Rose, Liam McDonnell and the rest of CNS’s back line turned away anything Liverpool attempted, but the Northstars also struggled to get much out of its attack.
All that changed with the second-half kickoff. Taking off down the right side, Drake Garner dribbled past the Liverpool defenders and, at the corner, fed to the middle, where Rob Spenard pushed a touch shot past goalie Karl Miller. It had taken all of 19 seconds for CNS to get a 1-0 lead.
Not content with that, the Northstars continued to push and, in the 51st minute, hit on a similar play to make it 2-0. This time, it was Tyler Discenza, working from the right corner, who passed to the middle and Logan Roberts finishing it off with a touch shot.
Now CNS had to hang on as Liverpool’s pressure increased. Twice in a two-minute span midway through the second half, first Rose, and then Sprague, made saves on the goal line when keeper Mike Sciotti was out of position.
Still, the Warriors pulled within one on Mike D’Agostino’s goal off a Taylor Groginski throw-in with 4:36 left, and made several charges in the waning minutes.
To set up this encounter, CNS first had to make it through last Wednesday’s tense opening-round struggle with no. 11 seed Rome Free Academy.
The Northstars pulled it off, edging the Black Knights 1-0. Neither side could get on the board until the 29th minute, when Drake Garner, unassisted, put a shot past RFA goalkeeper Spencer Kahler.
For the rest of the night, Kahler shut the door, making nine save. Thus, CNS’s defense had to maintain the slim margin, which it did as it held the Black Knights to a handful of chances. Charles Willard only had to make five saves.
Then CNS (12-5-1) made it through Liverpool, and now tries to knock off a B’ville squad that beat them 1-0 at Gillette Field on Oct. 12. The Bees, with the no. 2 seed, blanked Nottingham 2-0 in its quarterfinal. Liverpool’s season ends with an 11-4-2 mark.