In a complete and overwhelming manner, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls soccer team dismissed everyone in its path and earned its first Section III Class AA championship since 2007.
And the top-seeded Northstars saved the best performance for Friday night's title game at SUNY-Cortland, overwhelming no. 2 seed Baldwinsville 3-0 behind two goals from Reid Garner and a late tally from Hanna Haven.
In three post-season wins - over West Genesee, Fayetteville-Manlius and B'ville - C-NS never allowed a goal, and went from overcoming major nerves early in the sectional tournament to showing poise and confidence as the stages - and stakes - grew larger.
A little bit of motiviation doesn't hurt, either. C-NS clearly remembered that the Bees beat them 3-2 in their only regular-season meeting on Sept. 18 at Archie Hall Stadium, and were not about to let B'ville stop them again with a championship on the line.
Just 8:18 into the contest, Reid Garner, who had hit the crossbar with a shot just a minute earlier, took a pass from Stephanie Liberati and, from 25 yards out, fit a shot just inside the left post and past B’ville goalie Jaclyn Hingre.
Though the Bees could make occasional runs in the early going, it mostly found itself playing defense as C-NS’s quick group of midfielders kept streaking into B’ville’s end, forcing opportunities.
Hanna Haven, quiet through most of the post-season, had a lot to do with the goal in the 21st minute that made it 2-0. Her long run forced a corner kick, and then Haven dropped it to the middle, where Garner buried it in the net.
From there, the game turned into a futile chase for B'ville. Any time it tried to move the ball into the Northstars' end, defenders Sam Foley, Mary Kate Ordway, Chloe Lonergan and Meghan Duffy snuffed it out.