Mar 28, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When the Liverpool boys lacrosse team jumped all over Cicero-North Syracuse in the first half of Wednesday night’s season opener against Cicero-North Syracuse at Bragman Stadium, it could not have imagined all the stress it would have to deal with later in the contest.
Instead of a romp over its neighbor and rivals, the Warriors had to hang on for dear life in the waning seconds as the Northstars had multiple shots to force overtime, but could not convert, allowing Liverpool to escape with a 7-6 victory.
This was, of course, the Warriors’ first outing as reigning Section III Class A champions, though it trotted out an entire new lineup in the front line and midfield. Another challenge was that it had just 16 players dressed for the opener, so everyone had to log long minutes.
But Liverpool was playing on the same C-NS turf where, 10 months earlier, it had beaten West Genesee in overtime to end a 23-year sectional title drought. That increased confidence gained from a championship run would prove handy both early and late on this night.
The Northstars spent the first seven-plus minutes on defense, never able to clear it out, but only trailed 1-0 before Liverpool erupted for three goals in a 1:11 span late in the first quarter. Kendall Keahey, Harry Sardella and Justin Renk all converted, making it 4-0.
Peter Flood took over early in the second quarter, converting one goal and assisting on Sardella’s second tally that extended the Warriors’ lead to 6-0.
Just before it could get blown away, though, C-NS fought back, Tyler Heldt getting his team on the board seconds after Sardella’s goal. Zach DeBottis followed up with a pair of goals late in the period, which cut the margin to 6-3 going into halftime.
They played through a scoreless third quarter. Joe Bianchi, Shaun McDonald, Ryan Jordan and the rest of the C-NS defense did a tremendous job, holding Liverpool without a goal for nearly two full periods, yet the Northstars could not capitalize as Warriors goalie Dominick Madonna kept gobbling up shots.
With 7:47 left, Renk broke the Warriors’ long drought, making it 7-3, little realizing that it would be the game-winner as the Northstars made a late, furious push.
Heldt converted with 4:33 left, and barely a minute later DeBottis struck for his third goal. Still trailing 7-5, the Northstars made key defensive stops, and Heldt fired a shot from the point past Madonna with 1:02 to play and cut the margin to one.
Following a Liverpool turnover and penalty, C-NS, a man up, got two good shots in the closing seconds. Both DeBottis and Zach Griffo flung shots wide of Madonna, and the Warriors’ zone defense forced a turnover as the horn sounded.
Now the Warriors could exhale and await a brutal early-season stretch, starting next Tuesday, that includes two games in eight days against head coach Mike Felice’s alma mater, Baldwinsville, with a sectional finals rematch against visiting West Genesee in between.
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