Three years since it had last claimed a Section III Class AA championship, the Baldwinsville girls soccer team looked for another – but fell one win short of that plateau.
In Friday night’s AA final at SUNY-Cortland, the no. 2 seed Bees never got much going against top seed Cicero-North Syracuse, who prevailed 3-0 to earn its first title since 2007.
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.
The Bees would take just five shots and earn three corner kicks. Every time, those chances were turned back, Alyssa Jim making four saves for her third straight playoff shutout.
Hingre, meanwhile, recorded 12 saves, doing all she could to keep B'ville within range. C-NS never sat on its lead, though, and Haven offered a clincher with 34 seconds left, finding the net off a pass from Garner, who was named the game's MVP.
The loss meant that B'ville's season concluded with an 11-4-2 record. Still, with just one senior on its roster, B’ville has to like its chances of making a similar run in 2014 and, perhaps, making it all the way.