Sep 05, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What the Cicero-North Syracuse and Liverpool boys soccer teams shared in 2012 were dreams of a Section III Class AA championship thwarted by Utica Proctor – the Warriors in a dramatic overtime semifinal, the Northstars in the title game.
The two neighbors and rivals would share the same turf Wednesday night in front of a large crowd at LHS Stadium, and 110 minutes of action yielded no resolution as the game ended in a 0-0 draw.
When practices started, Liverpool had plenty to be hungry about, beyond the memory of the OT defeat to Proctor. Not since 2004 have the Warriors made it to a sectional final, and it’s been a decade since the Warriors’ last championship run.
Yet Liverpool took a huge blow just days before the start of a regular season. According to head coach Doug Nunn, while taking a routine cut in practice, senior Nick Zingaro, the team’s leading scorer the last two seasons, tore the ACL in his left knee, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
This has forced the Warriors to reconfigure its attack on the fly, and the result was a lot of struggles during a season-opening tournament on Aug. 30 and 31 at LHS Stadium where Proctor was in the field, along with Nottingham and Jamesville-DeWitt.
In the opening round, both games featured overtime and required shoot-outs, making it a long day once a weather delay for lightning was factored into the equation.
Proctor and Nottingham went to penalty kicks, where the Bulldogs prevailed, 5-3. Then Liverpool and J-D played 110 scoreless minutes of regulation and overtime before deciding to halt the game after the weather delay.
When they returned on Saturday, Liverpool edged past Nottingham 1-0 on Gerardo Ramirez-Hadon’s goal, assisted by Kyle Lombard Peck did not give up anything in the two-day tournament and only had to make nine saves. Proctor beat J-D in the other game.
This led to the latest chapter in the Liverpool-C-NS rivalry. Even the graduation of the likes of Tony Barraco, T.J. Sprague, Tyler DiScenza, Conner Young, Zach Briggs, Bryan Sibble, Jon Runge and Charlie Willard has not shaken the confidence of head coach Mike McCaffery as the Northstars’ season got underway.
Both sides started out physical and intense, but a pair of early yellow cards toned things down the rest of the first half. Liverpool’s best chance to get ahead came in the 36th minute, when a booming free kick got tipped over the net by the new C-NS goalie, Morgan Miller.
They stayed in that scoreless deadlock through the second half, too, as another Warrior free-kick attempt got knocked down by the C-NS wall of defenders late in regulation. With 6:45 left, Peck made a terrific stop on Pete Girardi’s attempt at the go-ahead goal.
Both in the second half and the first of two 10-minute overtime periods, C-NS had long periods of possession, but again could not get close to the net against the veteran Warrior defenders. At the same time, though, Liverpool continued to have a difficult time finding offensive rhythm.
But just when the game clock was running down at the end of the second OT, C-NS’s Tyler Witek bore down in an all-out sprint on Peck, who had to run out and make another big save to make sure the draw was secure.