Baldwinsville defender Connor Ross (10) battles for the ball with Liverpool's Mike Alsid (12) in Wednesday night's Section III Class AA semifinal at Nottingham High School. Ross and the Bees' defense would shut out the Warriors in a 1-0 decision.
SYRACUSE For much of a tense Section III Class AA semifinal Wednesday night at Nottingham High School, Connor Lunduski was a spectator as his Baldwinsville boys soccer team fended off the numerous advances of Liverpool.
But when it came time to participate, Lunduski did so in the most spectacular way possible, as his goal late in regulation made the difference as the Bees knocked out the Warriors 1-0.
The win gives B'ville, who won or shared every sectional title from 2007 to 2011, a chance at a sixth title in seven years as it advances to the championship game against Fayetteville-Manlius, who beat top seed Cicero-North Syracuse 2-1 in the other AA semifinal.
Ironically, that game will be on Liverpool's home turf, starting at 7:15 following the Class B sectional final between Westhill and Skaneateles.
As the no. 3 seed, B'ville carried with it the distant memory of beating Liverpool in overtime 3-2 back on Sept. 14. Now, though, it was the Warriors that held the no. 2 seed and a no. 20 state ranking, just one spot behind the Bees.
The two sides would play through a 0-0 first half that did not feature many scoring opportunities. Liverpool made longer runs at the net, while B'ville stuck with shorter passes, attempting to set up chances but rarely getting around the Warriors' defenders.
Moving to the second half, Liverpool's pressure intensified. This would test what B'ville head coach Tim Scheemaker said was his team's strategy going into the night.
"We worked on being organized in the back," he said. "And we were just looking to sneak one in the net."
Credit for the organization went to defenders Erik Ferrari, Connor Ross, Braeden Miles and Alex Sheperd, who never let Liverpool's fleet front line find much open space once it got near the Bees' net.