On a pivotal Friday night, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys soccer team confronted the main reason why it has not made a state tournament appearance since 2005.
Baldwinsville was the visitor, a team with five consecutive Section III Class AA titles – four of them at the expense of the Hornets.
Remembering all that, and needing a signature win in an otherwise up-and-down campaign, the Hornets pulled through in a big way, playing well in all facets of the game to take out the Bees by a 2-0 margin.
Perhaps B’ville was feeling too good about itself after knocking off state no. 3-ranked Liverpool 3-1 earlier in the week, or perhaps it forgot about the Hornets’ good qualities in the wake of F-M defeats to the likes of Nottingham and CBA.
Or maybe it’s just that F-M was ready for this contest and, for 80 minutes, were sharp and confident. This was especially true on defense, where the Hornets shut down anything B’ville attempted, and also got a strong effort from goalie Jim Brady, who stopped all nine shots he faced.
F-M had about the same amount of scoring chances, but got two shots, one in each half, past Bees keeper Trevor Pauldine. Tyler Snow and Tyler Tressnes earned those goals, with Aaron Epling contributing an assist.
While all this was going on, F-M’s girls soccer team, coming off a 2-2 draw with CBA on Sept. 29, roared into October by taking apart Auburn last Tuesday night in an 8-2 romp.
This was, above all, a showcase for Cheyenne Hall. She had assisted on both goals in the CBA match, but did much more against the Maroons.
A wild first half saw F-M move in front 5-2, despite goals from Auburn’s Michaela Breeze and Brigid Sabine. The Hornets got away late as Hall continued to add to her totals, not stopping until she had picked up four goals and two assists, a new career mark for points.
Alexis Muraco offered the support, finding the net twice, while Sarah Olick-Sutphen and Katie Randall had one goal apiece. Jessica Puro, Marri Ryu and Emily Murray joined Olick-Sutphen as they each earned one assist.
Now the Hornets looked to complete a regular-season sweep of Cicero-North Syracuse Thursday night at Archie Hall Stadium – but instead, a ferocious second-half charge allowed the host Northstars to prevail by a 4-2 margin.
F-M had their first meeting 3-2 on Sept. 13 when Olick-Sutphen scored a goal in the last minute of regulation. Here, it was quieter in the early going, F-M inching to a 1-0 lead in the first 40 minutes.
During the second half, though, the Northstars continually found their way past Nina Quigley, who finished with eight saves, negating the goals put up by Hall and Rachel Dise. Aly Falinski, Marissa Rio, Reid Garner and Stephanie Liberati all earned goals in the late C-NS push.