Oct 23, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
By a tiny margin, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys soccer team missed grabbing the outright CNY Counties League National division regular-season championship.
Instead, the Northstars took a 1-0 defeat to Baldwinsville last Saturday afternoon, which meant that C-NS, B’ville and Liverpool all tied for the league crown.
And it may have cost C-NS the top seed in the Section III Class AA playoffs, too, as instead it settled for a no. 2 seed, though it is still heavily favored in Wednesday night’s AA quarterfinal against no. 7 seed Corcoran.
This battle with B’ville proved the culmination of a crowded final week of the regular season, which included four games in six days.
It got underway last Monday with a non-league game against Whitesboro, the Northstars doing enough to turn back the Warriors 2-0.
Without doing anything spectacular, C-NS, now the no. 9 team in the state Class AA rankings, gained control against a Whitesboro side that, at 9-4-1, was going to get a high Class A playoff seed.
A goal in each half proved enough as Tony Barraco and Liam McDonnell both scored, with Charlie Willard stopping all five shots he faced. Whitesboro keeper Nick Crocilla had nine saves.
Just 24 hours later, when C-NS went to Corcoran, Bryan Sibble – with lots of help from Barraco – took center stage and almost personally delivered a 7-1 victory over the Cougars.
With a sharp and successful attack, the Northstars were up 4-0 by halftime. In most of those scoring situations, Barraco would set up the play with a deft pass, and Sibble would put it in the net.
By game’s end, that added up to Sibble earning five goals, a new career mark, and Barraco finishing with four assists. McDonnell contributed one goal and one assist, with Justin Perkins landing the other goal. Peter Girardi also earned an assist.
In Thursday night’s visit to West Genesee, C-NS almost tripped up, needing every bit of the 80 minutes to fight past the Wildcats 1-0.
Were it not for Willard, who made 11 saves, the Northstars may have faced some trouble. WG fought to a 0-0 first-half draw, and even after Sibble scored off a feed from Dan Desmarais, C-NS had to hang on the rest of the way.
This led to B’ville, who had lost to Utica Proctor and Nottingham in the week leading up to this game, giving C-NS a chance to really shatter the five-time defending sectional champions’ confidence going into the playoffs.
But right from the start, the Bees attacked hard, keeping C-NS in its own end most of the way. Thanks to an air-tight defense, the Northstars did manage a shutout in regulation, anchored again by Willard, who would finish with 10 saves.
Yet C-NS could not relieve the pressure, only getting five shots all afternoon in a game that went into a second overtime. Eight minutes before the end, B’ville’s Nick Gates, off a pass from Trevor Pauldine, pushed a shot past Willard to end it.
Should the Northstars handle Corcoran the way it did a week ago, it will advance to the AA semifinals against either no. 3 seed Nottingham or no. 6 seed Fayetteville-Manlius.