Right on cue, the worst weather of the fall arrived in time for the start of the Section III Class AA boys soccer playoffs. But it didn’t keep top seed Cicero-North Syracuse or no. 3 seed Liverpool from easily making their way into next week’s semifinal round.
Going first, the Warriors hosted no. 6 seed Nottingham last Wednesday night, and enduring the rain and cold temperatures, Liverpool knocked out the Bulldogs 3-0.
These same two teams had met twice in the regular season, with the Warriors prevailing both times by margins of 1-0 (on Aug. 31) and 3-0 (on Oct. 7). The third encounter with Nottingham would produce yet another shutout.
Liverpool, no. 19 in the latest state Class AA rankings, gained a 1-0 edge by halftime, but did not find that comfortable enough, tacking on a pair of insurance goals after the break and protecting goalkeeper Cody Peck, who only had to make two saves.
Three different Warriors – Gerardo Ramirez Hanon, Kyle Lombard and Raiss Muya – earned the three goals, with Ramirez Hanon adding an assist. Sam Fuller and Miles Veney also picked up assists.
Then C-NS, possessing the top seed in Class AA, took its turn in the quarterfinals Thursday night at Gillette Field against no. 8 seed Henninger, who had blanked Central Square 2-0 in the opening round two nights earlier.
Supposedly refreshed from a week of rest and recuperation, the Northstars had to battle the elements, and its own nerves, for a large portion of the game before taking over in the second half and eliminating the Black Knights 3-0, the same margin by which C-NS beat Henninger two weeks earlier at Sunnycrest Field.
A combination of high winds, cold temperatures and precipitation slowed things up in the first half, and C-NS, even with the no. 11 state AA ranking, could not get anything on the board as Henninger goalie Jonny Larca made most of his 14 saves.