Manlius The Cicero-North Syracuse’s field hockey team's focus, in the week leading up to Sunday's Section III Class A semifinal against Liverpool at Fayetteville-Manlius, was on putting shots on goal, according to head coach Pat Kennedy.
That focus sure seemed to pay off.
Two minutes into the game, the no. 2 seed Northstars were already leading the no. 3 seed Warriors 2-0, and it would continue to add to that total on the way to a 5-3 victory and a spot in the sectional title game.
Maggie Kennedy scored the opening goal a minute into the game, and Nessa McKie added a second score seconds later off an assist from Kennedy, those goals matching the entire total C-NS had earned against Liverpool in two regular-season meetings this fall.
“We said, ‘We got to jump on these kids early. And we got to keep them on their heels.’ ” Pat Kennedy said. “And we accomplished that.”
The Warriors briefly roared back, cutting the Northstar lead to 2-1 a minute later off a Morgan Thomas goal.
Then the teams went back and forth until the Northstars re-ignited its attack with two scores in a two-minute span midway through the first half, both coming from Marie Aloi.
“All I was thinking was we cannot let our season end today, there’s no way,” Aloi said. “We just worked so hard we didn’t want to let anything go.”
Going into halftime, the Northstars held a 4-1 lead over the Warriors. But after the break, Pat Kennedy said his team got a little complacent.
McKayla Roberts did score seven minutes into the second half on a pass from Elise Towers, but the Northstar defense gave up six penalty corners to the Warriors that helped them mount a belated comeback.
“In that second half, for a 10-minute stretch, we were just on our heels,” he said. We didn’t know what to do, we were just totally out of whack.”