It must warm the hearts of the Baldwinsville boys soccer team to know that, in five total encounters against the other three major Class AA title contenders – Cicero-North Syracuse, Fayetteville-Manlius and Liverpool – it has gone a combined 3-1-1.
That one draw was Thursday night’s 0-0 encounter with C-NS at Gillette Field, a game where a victory may have meant both the CNY Counties League National division regular-season title and the top seed for the Section III tournament.
Alas, both honors eluded the Bees, but it still managed to play two games against the Northstars this fall without surrendering a goal, including a 1-0 non-league victory at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium back on Sept. 9.
More than a month later, B’ville arrived at the rematch sporting an eight-game win streak, but C-NS was bent on payback, and would nearly get it in front of a large, loud home crowd.
Through the first half, the two sides kept running at each other. The Bees had the best scoring opportunity, though, as in the 30th minute Nick Gates sprung loose in front of the C-NS let, only to see his point-blank shot go wide.
Moving to the second half, B’ville could not put together a consistent attack, even after rain started falling at the midway point of the half, which made the footing slippery for both teams.
Still, in the 62nd minute, the Bees nearly got the winning goal as Jake Gentile sent a hard shot that required Northstars goalie Morgan Miller to make a diving stop, the best of his eight saves. This followed a pair of close C-NS free kicks by Kyle Tracy that Nick Lindovski managed to grab.
But they would remain scoreless, and as the rain picked up in volume throughout the pair of 10-minute overtime periods, B’ville mostly found itself in a defensive mode. The back line of Erik Ferrari, Connor Ross, Braden Miles and Alex Shepard offered ample protection for Lindovski, who still made 12 saves to preserve his part of the shutout.