Nov 05, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What is it about the Baldwinsville boys soccer team, Cicero-North Syracuse, and the date Nov. 4? It sure seems to agree with the Bees, to say the least.
On Nov. 4, 2008, at West Genesee High School’s turf field, the Bees beat the Northstars 1-0 in overtime to win its second consecutive Section III Class AA championship.
Exactly one year later — Nov. 4, 2009 — and in the exact same West Genesee venue, B’ville ruined CNS’s championship dreams again, this time as an underdog in a Class AA semifinal that went to a penalty-kick shoot-out before getting settled.
Aside from full turnover of personnel, much had changed in the 12 months since that ’08 final. CNS, in fact, had appeared to become the team to beat in Class AA, having gone 14-0-2 in the regular season and dominated Rome Free Academy in its playoff quarterfinal.
By contrast, B’ville was 12-5, and two of those defeats had come to CNS in 1-0 decisions. The new cast of starters had done an admirable job, but the consensus view was that it could not quite measure up to those championship teams of the previous two campaigns.
Yet being freed from the pressure of expecting to win seemed to liberate B’ville, at least in the early going of this third and most important ’09 battle with CNS.
In the game’s 13th minute, Dan Knight got open in front of the net and pushed a header home. CNS countered in the 21st minute, as a free kick turned into a scramble and Gino Corasaniti punched a shot that eluded B’ville goalie Andrew Coughlin to tie it, 1-1.
Each side played at a high level through the rest of the first half, then an entire second half, without resolving a thing as the defenses took over.
Both here, and in the high tension of two 15-minute overtime periods, the Bees’ defense was particularly good. Coughlin handled all the shots that got to him, and despite Corasaniti’s constant pushes, Jake Lunduski, Mike Guardino, Matt Boyle and Ben Ramin stayed calm and forced him away from trouble.
So it came down to a shoot-out, five penalty kicks apiece, just as B’ville had required to get past CBA in the quarterfinal round.
Maybe that experience proved beneficial here. Through four rounds, each side scored twice and each side had missed twice, as Trevor Pauldine and Hobie Ramin both converted for B’ville.
In the fifth and final round, Guardino fired a shot past CNS goalie Dan DeBottis. Now the Northstars had to score to keep the shoot-out going.
Everything rode on whether Coughlin could guess right on Jon Cary’s attempt. When Cary shot, Coughlin went right — and got enough of a piece of the ball to let it carom off the crossbar, and stay out.
By that ultra-slim margin, B’ville advanced to meet Fayetteville-Manlius Wednesday night in Camillus with the AA title on the line. The Hornets, holder of more sectional championships than any other school (22), needed to survive its own shoot-out to get past Utica Proctor in the other semifinal, and even the numbers were the same — 1-1 in the game, 3-2 in the shoot-out.