Three times in a five-day span, the Cicero-North Syracuse girls lacrosse team found itself battling a quality opponent right to the final seconds. Each time, the Northstars came out on top.
But what made the Northstars’ 10-9 victory over Watertown in last Monday night’s home opener at Bragman Stadium so unique was that it committed the combined C-NS forces against a superstar who nearly carried the Cyclones into overtime.
Jill Girardi had helped Watertown win the Section III Class B championship a year ago. Now, with her team at 2-0 on the season, Girardi would render the same sort of damage against C-NS, finding the net eight times as Northstars defenders could not find a way to contain her.
However, the rest of the Cyclones were bottled up, and this allowed C-NS to edge into a 6-5 halftime lead. All through the second half, Girardi would convert, and someone on the Northstars would answer.
Jessica Meneilly, with four goals and three assists, led C-NS as Megan Tryniski got three goals and one assist. Brenna Duffy added two goals and one assist as Olivia Africa got the other goal. Makena Scarlata and Julia Alberici had one assist apiece.
Now C-NS had beaten Skaneateles, Marcellus and Watertown by a combined four goals, and looked for a bit less stress when it hosted South Jefferson Thursday night.
Thanks to its best all-around effort of the season, that’s exactly what the Northstars got, handling the Spartans 11-3. All that C-NS allowed in the first half was a single goal, which gave it ample time to build a comfortable lead and spend the second half protecting that big margin, rather than trying to hang on.
Those 11 goals came from nine different players, with only Meneilly and Paige Dorgan scoring twice. Duffy had three assists to go with her lone goal as Alberici and Africa both had one goal and one assist. Massena added an assist, with Tryniski, Scarlata, Isabella Orlando and Molly Molchanoff also finding the net.
This busy week ended with C-NS visiting Shaker (Section II) on Saturday afternoon. It was close for a while, but the Northstars prevailed 10-6, doing so by holding the Blue Bison to one goal in the second half after it inched into a 6-5 lead before intermission.
Continuing her strong start, Meneilly had three goals and one assist. Tryniski scored twice, adding a pair of assists, while Jessica Foley also got two goals. Duffy had a goal and three assists as Alberici and Molchanoff also found the net.
Liverpool had gone through an up-and-down opening stretch, but dominated last Wednesday’s game against Binghamton at LHS Stadium, pasting the Patriots 18-2 as it netted 13 of those goals in the first half to set up a running clock the rest of the way.
Abby Hope, with five goals and one assist, led the charge, while Brittany Halpin and Maia Henry each scored three times, Halpin adding two assists. Veronica Brancato amassed five assists, with Megan Fitzpatrick and Bella Brancato each getting three assists as Lexi Emmi, Colleen Tifft and Kate Salanger netted two goals apiece. Reva Mussi had the other goal.
Now the Warriors looked for back-to-back wins at Carthage on Saturday afternoon, and though it fell behind early, Liverpool made it all the way back and pulled out a 10-9 decision over the Comets.
The difference was that Liverpool’s defense responded after a first half where Carthage, led by Claire Odett (four goals) and Braelie Kempney (three goals, three assists) helped the Comets build an 8-5 edge. In the second half, the Warriors gave up just one goal, with Marissa Madonna working her total to 13 saves.
Still, some offense was needed, and Liverpool got it from Halpin, who had her own three-goal, three-assist outing as Hope also scored three times. Bella Brancato had a goal and three assists as Henry got one goal and two assists. Emmi and Salanger contributed single goals.
This gave Liverpool (3-1) some momentum going into Tuesday’s game at Rome Free Academy that precedes Thursday’s CNY Counties League opener at Baldwinsville and a Saturday visit from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill. C-NS, meanwhile, would take a 5-0 mark into Thursday’s non-league game at Westhill.