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The Blackwell Blog

Calm before the storms...and Sandy, too!

You know, it would be nice to have a quiet evening at home, someday, no one or two games to run to and a dozen others to follow. That day will arrive, soon.

The plan here was to have a nice Monday evening to relax and kick back before the onrush of Section III semifinal and final games and...what? A storm? Sandy? Sandy!!! (Insert gratuitous Danny Zuko and/or Rizzo reference here anytime you wish.)

Before that, though, we had field hockey semifinals, played throughout the weekend. There was drama in the Class A semifinals as C-NS needed a goal by Marie Aloi late in regulation to get past Rome Free Academy 3-2 and Liverpool, with a superb breakaway overtime goal from Shelby Peck, fought past F-M 2-1.

The usual suspects in Class B (Camden and VVS) are gone, replaced by ESM, who knocked off VVS, and Whitesboro, who headed off rival New Hartford. Cazenovia's field hockey win streak is at 38 and counting after a 7-0 smashing of Canastota, meaning a Class C final against Holland Patent, while New York Mills and Morrisville-Eaton are ready to play for the Class D crown.

They haven't gone as far in the Section III soccer playoffs, but already there has been some big developments, none with greater resonance than seeing Baldwinsville's five-year reign in Class AA end in a 2-1 defeat to Utica Proctor.

So the Raiders get top seed Liverpool in one AA semifinal, while F-M, who needed overtime to survive Nottingham, gets C-NS in the other semi as we're guaranteed a new champion.

ESM still lives as the reigning Class A champs, thanks to an overtime win over New Hartford, but can the Spartans, like 2011, topple a top seed in Fowler and ruin the Falcons' feel-good story? CBA cares little for sentiment, and after turning back J-D, the Brothers now get Whitesboro.

How much fun will it be in Class B? On one side, there's there's the Warrior clash as unbeaten, untied Westhill, gets defending champion Clinton, and on the other side it's the Laker clash beteween Cazenovia and Skaneateles after one set of Lakers downed Sherburne-Earlville and the other needed Austin Amory's late goal to hold off South Jefferson.

Tully, the reigning Class C champs, are gone, taken out by Manlius-Pebble Hill 1-0, and the Trojans will try to pull another surprise in the semifinals against top seed Cooperstown as Fabius-Pompey, yet another OT survivor (against Thousand Islands), plays Mount Markham.

In the split Class D bracket, Hamilton, defending its state title, gets Watertown IHC and Poland meets Copenhagen in D-1, while Old Forge meets Lyme and Owen D. Young takes on Faith Heirtage in D-2. Aside from the Saints, you have to say that all the power is on the D-1 side.

Now, for the girls soccer playoffs, where far more form has held, but some big games loom.

Remsen, from its odd no. 3 seed in Class D, got four more goals from Erin O'Connor against Madison in a 5-0 win, leading to a semifinal between the Rams and Cincinnatus as Poland, the top seed, gets Copenhagen.

Whenever they do play the Class C-2 semis, it's BIshop Grimes, the top seed, drawing Morrisville-Eaton, just as Manlius-Pebble Hill meets West Canada. Moving to C-1, the champs from Tully, also a no. 3 seed, is ready to deal with Thousand Islands as Sauquoit Valley, who won in 2009 and 2010, meets Watertown IHC, who saw Olivia Miles score a hat trick to carry her side past Lowville.

Now in Class B....hmmm, haven't we seen this before, Marcellus playing Westhill? They sure got to their latest semifinal in different ways, the top-seeded Mustangs easing past Bishop Ludden as the Warriors needed overtime to hold off Chittenango and penalty kicks to get the heck out of Skaneateles.

Oh yeah, there's another semifinal, as Clinton, who also needed PKs to advance against Holland Patent, and South Jefferson, who prevailed in OT over Cazenovia, will clash. Yet it sure feels like an appetizer for the main event involving the girls in Marcellus green and Westhill blue.

People are already projecting to a Class A final showdown between Whitesboro and J-D. The three-time champion Red Rams teased for a bit before getting four first-half goals in the quarterfinal against New Hartford, which leads to a semifinal game against Camden, who dropped seven goals on Watertown. As for the Warriors, who are 16-1 after a 5-1 dismissal of ESM, they get Fulton, and it would be a huge shock to see anything other than the top two seeds playing for it all.

And in Class AA, it's been all chalk. The top four seeds made it to the semifinals, leaving us with Baldwinsville, who ripped Auburn 7-2 , trying to beat F-M for the third time this fall after the Hornets relied on Cheyenne Hall to elminate CBA.

Then it's merely Liverpool against C-NS, the soccer version, as a prelude to the field hockey title game later in the week. The defending champion Warriors and Northstars had little trouble in their respective quarterfinals,and it will all come down to whether Ore Akinpelu breaks free, or whether Stephanie Liberati and Hanna Haven do so.

Above all that, though, keep everyone in the path of the storm in your thoughts and prayers. That makes all of these games quite trivial.

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