Liverpool Austin Hope, Logan Thomas and Nick Kline took turns on Tuesday night, flinging shots into the net as the Liverpool boys lacrosse team took charge in the second quarter of Tuesday night's pivotal game against Fayetteville-Manlius.
By the time they were done, the trio had four goals apiece - and the Warriors had a 13-8 victory over the Hornets, remaining undefeated.
Now the 14-0 Warriors head to the regular season's biggest contest, Thursday night at 7:30 at West Genesee. The winner of that game is likely to hold the no. 1 seed for the Section III Class A playoffs later this month.
F-M had a chance to interrupt Liverpool's grand plans and, in the process, avenge a pair of 2011 defeats to the Warriors, one of them a 14-5 romp in the Class A semifinals.
Initially, it looked to be a tense thriller. Both teams made lots of stops in an active first quarter, and F-M inched into a 2-1 lead on goals by Kevin Lux and Ryan Simmons.
Right from the moment the second period started, though, the Warriors hit a higher gear. From dominating the face-offs to sprinting right past F-M's man-to-man pressure, everything clicked during a 7-0 spurt that covered less than nine minutes of game time.
Hope and Thomas both recorded natural hat tricks - three goals - during that period. Kline, who had his team's lone tally in the first quarter, got the other two goals, including one amid an F-M uprising late in the half that helped make it 9-5 at the break.
Just as importantly, the Warriors' trademark zone defense settled into its usual form. The Hornets achieved most of its production in transition, and that was only sporadic.
Otherwise, Mike Czachowski, Bryan Capone, Kyle Spencer, Mike Denely and the rest of the back line forced F-M to the outside, setting up low-percentage shots. And not only did Dominick Madonna stop 16 of the 24 shots he faced, the junior goalie also hustled out of the net, twice forcing turnovers when the Hornets didn't back up shots.
That kind of effort will be needed against West Genesee, winners of the last 10 sectional titles. Of course, WG beat Liverpool in overtime to claim that latest sectional title one year ago, and the Warriors badly want payback.