Everything that the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team had done to build its program back up to elite status leads up to the trip it takes to the Carrier Dome next Tuesday night to see if it can upend West Genesee and win its first Section III Class A championship in 17 years.
First, though, the Northstars had to get through the small task of prevailing in Friday night’s Class A semifinal at Christian Brothers Academy’s Alibrandi Stadium, and despite some stress, C-NS accomplished the task, beating no. 3 seed Fayetteville-Manlius 13-8.
It was quite different from a year ago, when C-NS was an upstart and provided a massive jolt when it shocked West Genesee in this same semifinal round on this same CBA turf.
Now the Northstars were in the role of established favorite, dealing with an F-M side vastly improving with each game, as it showed by pushing C-NS hard in a 13-9 decision on May 12, just 11 days before the playoff rematch.
With the confidence it gained from playing well that first time, F-M struck first with Carly Primo’s goal just 1:05 into the game. Though Hanna Haven tied it, the Hornets regained the lead, 2-1, when Mary Trop found the net a minute later.
And that would be the Hornets’ last lead of the night. Settling down, Mary Kate Bonnani, Lexxi Knoblock, Stephanie Liberati, Katie Uva and the rest of C-NS’s defense stepped up and frustrated F-M’s young attackers, and goalie Bri Stahr kept making big stops, finishing with six saves on the night.
Yet even when C-NS took the lead on goals by Kelly Lippert, Meghan Duffy and Tiffany Ryan, it could not seize control, and went to halftime clinging to a 5-3 lead, one F-M spurt from facing real trouble.
Instead, it was the Northstars that would make the spurt. Within a 50-second span early in the second half, Haven, Samantha Tortora and Bryar Cummings would all find the net, and when Haven scored two minutes later, it was 9-3.