Liverpool Baldwinsville's boys soccer team are five-time defending Class-AA champions, but entering the Bees’ match with Class-B Liverpool on Saturday, head coach Tim Scheemaker pondered just how realistic a sixth straight title was with 10 underclassmen on his roster, three of them starters.
“Are we going to be good enough to compete?” Scheemaker asked himself. “I know we’re not necessarily the best team, but we won when we weren’t necessarily the best team. I think two (of those) years we won when there were better teams than us.”
Scheemaker may have received his answer on Saturday as his Bees came back from a pair of one-goal deficits to earn a hard-fought 2-2 tie with the Warriors at LHS Stadium.
Jake Gentile’s equalizer in the 63rd minute held as the final goal as the two teams finished regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods without another score.
“Liverpool is probably the favorite team in the league so to come in here to get a draw on their home field, (so) I’m very excited for my kids,” Scheemaker said.
Early on, it appeared the game was poised for a defensive struggle. Quality chances were few and far between.
Liverpool forward Nick Zingaro found Leo Rubio on a back heel in the 19th minute, but Rubio’s 20-yard shot from the left side didn’t challenge B'ville goalkeeper Chris Spaulding. Seven minutes later, Warriors goalie Cody Peck punched away a dangerous cross from Bees forward Maxwell Charest.
Finally, a breakthrough came with four minutes left in the first half. Countering a failed B'ville attack, Liverpool forward Joe Sheehan sprinted the ball up the right side of the field. Curling a cross into the middle of the 18-yard-box, he found a streaking Owen Thompson, who headed the ball past Spaulding’s outstretched left hand and into the net.
As Thompson jogged back up the field, Sheehan stayed standing on the far side of the box, hands held up in jubilation. It seemed the Warriors had all the momentum heading into halftime.