Though it knows that the task to reclaim the Section III Class A title after a 16-year absence is a tall one, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team goes into the Section III Class A playoffs confident after a tremendous 15-1 regular season.
Two more big tests awaited the state Class C no. 7-ranked Northstars before the post-season, starting with last Monday’s trip to fast-improving Fayetteville-Manlius, where timely scoring spurts and a solid defense helped produce a 14-9 victory over the Hornets.
If C-NS had any illusions about F-M’s strengths, they were shattered in the first six minutes, when the Hornets seized a 3-1 lead on goals by Mary Trop, Olivia Tejan and Carly Primo.
But the Northstars soon settled down and blanked F-M for 13-plus minutes, going on a 4-0 run to move in front before Jamison Seabury’s goal made it 5-4.
C-NS then used three goals in a 53-second span to establish an 8-4 margin late in the half, Samantha Tortora scoring twice and assisting on Bryar Cummings’ tally, before Jane Cote’s goal cut the Hornets’ deficit to 8-5 at the break.
The entire second half amounted to a chase. Twice, C-NS established six-goal margins, of 11-5 and 12-6, but a tenacious F-M defense made sure it didn’t turn into a runaway, and the Hornets battled to the end as Trop, Allison Macrae and Meg Kincaid added late goals.
Following a shaky start, the Northstars’ back line, anchored by Stephanie Liberati, Lexxi Knoblock, Mary Kate Bonnani and Katie Uva, made sure that F-M never got into a regular rhythm, and goalie Bri Stahr had another strong outing, too, earning 10 saves.
Only Courtney Kenny found the net three times for the Northstars, with Tortora and Hanna Haven each getting two goals and two assists. Megan Caveny scored twice early in the second half, with Cummings adding two goals. Meghan Duffy and Miriam Ghabarou each got one goal and one assist.