Sep 17, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In the most dramatic way possible, the Liverpool field hockey team claimed the first round in what is sure to be a season-long duel with Cicero-North Syracuse for both CNY Counties League and Section III Class A supremacy.
Alyssa Renk’s goal at the end of regulation, combined with Beth Lamison’s tally one minute to overtime, pushed the Warriors past the Northstars 4-3 last Tuesday night at Bragman Stadium — the same turf where the sectional and state finals will take place later this fall.
Going into this classic, both teams were undefeated — Liverpool at 5-0, CNS at 4-0. Both had separated themselves from the rest of the local Class A crowd through potent offense and consistent, strong defense.
Thus, the matchup of the two neighbors and fierce rivals (who have, between them, won the last three sectional Class A titles) already had a lot of anticipation. The game they played only made things better.
Liverpool jumped right out and attacked early, finding little success at first because CNS closed ranks around goalie Nicole Gillette and protected her well.
But 12:33 into the first half, the Northstars got caught out of position and Liverpool broke out, three-on-one. Kayla DeAngelis worked the ball down the right side and passed it to Marybeth Madia. When the defense rushed to Madia, she fed it to Rachel Grannel, whose shot crashed into the net past Gillette.
Down 1-0, CNS didn’t fret. Less than four minutes later, its deadly set-play attack struck on a penalty corner when Lucia Meola, off a great feed from Alex Gale, ripped a shot from the point past Liverpool goaile Mikey Meagher, tying it 1-1.
That same set play worked again, but in a different way, when Meola’s wide shot got deflected high into the net by Ciera Lang, pushing CNS in front 2-1, the first time the Warriors had faced a deficit all season, and it remained that way until halftime.
Just 3:22 into the second half, though, Liverpool took its turn on a penalty corner as a series of passes set up Madia for the tying goal to make it 2-2. DeAngelis got credit for the assist, and she would be heard from again.
Withstanding 10 minutes of pressure, CNS kept it even, then surprised Liverpool with its own fast break that saw Lindsay Flanagan move the ball down the right side, then pass it to Katie Kennedy. With 14:17 left in regulation, Kennedy passed to Meola, who slapped home her second goal of the night, and CNS led again, 3-2.
With defenders Christine Benn, Samantha Cirillo and Sarah Wazenkewitz closing ranks in front of Gillette, the Northstars played superb defense and were on the brink of securing victory, but here Liverpool’s “Refuse to Lose” mantra manifested itself.
As regulation time wound down, Liverpool made one more attack. The ball bounced from DeAngelis to Renk, who shot the ball past Gillette with just one second to play.
This sent Liverpool into jubilation, and CNS into shock. Those twin feelings lingered into the seven-on-seven overtime session, which did not last long.
Before a minute had elapsed, Liverpool had forced a penalty corner. With fewer CNS defenders protecting Gillette, DeAngelis passed it to Lamison, whose hard shot from the point found the left side of the net and brought the Warriors a victory.
Liverpool and CNS will meet again Oct. 13, at Syracuse University’s Coyne Field (the Warriors’ temporary home field since its own turf is unsafe), and they are heavily favored to clash a third time in the sectional finals at season’s end.
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