Cicero If nothing else, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys soccer team is a consistent force, every season finding its way into the latter stages of the Section III Class AA playoffs.
So it is again for the Northstars in 2012, as, with a no. 2 seed, it finds itself two wins from the ultimate prize that has eluded them on an outright basis since 2006.
C-NS, still with the no. 9 spot in the latest state Class AA rankings, decided to move Wednesday's AA quarterfinal against no. 7 seed Corcoran from its usual home field at Gillette Middle School to the turf at Bragman Stadium.
That led to an uneven start against a Cougars side it beat 7-1 the week before, but once C-NS got used to the hard surface, it tore past the Corcoran defenders in the latter stages and, led again by Bryan Sibble, earned a 5-0 victory.
When the two sides had met eight days earlier, on Oct. 16, Sibble put up a career-best five goals. Thus, Corcoran was determined to shut him down, and did a reasonable job in the first half as C-NS only carried a 1-0 lead to the break.
In those last 40 minutes, though, Sibble proved impossible to contain, constantly threading past pressure and putting shots home on his way to a three-goal hat trick, plus an assist.
T.J. Sprague earned the Northstars’ other two goals, while Zach Briggs, Tyler Witek and Tony Barraco each got one assist. Splitting time in the net, goalkeepers Charlie Willard and Jon Runge made five saves between them and preserved the shutout.
This leads C-NS (14-3) to the Class AA semifinal against no. 6 seed Fayetteville-Manlius, who needed overtime to oust no. 3 seed Nottingham 3-2. No doubt, the Northstars are eager to avenge a 2-0 defeat to those Hornets on Sept. 25 at Gillette.