Liverpool junior midfielder Cabry Hildmann (7), a key part of the Warriors’ attack throughout the season, netted a single goal in the team’s narrow defeat to Fayetteville-Manlius early last week, but then had a combined seven goals in back-to-back wins over Syracuse and Rome Free Academy.
What was nearly an historic evening for the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse boys lacrosse teams turned, instead, into narrow defeats that proved both encouraging and discouraging at the same time.
At LHS Stadium, Liverpool suffered a 7-6 loss to Fayetteville-Manlius, the same side that drubbed these same Warriors 20-6 back on April 20, a clear indication of just how much Liverpool has improved this spring.
Meanwhile, in Camillus, C-NS offered a similar challenge to West Genesee and met a similar fate – namely, a one-goal defeat, 8-7, that still might serve as a seasonal turning point for the Northstars.
In Liverpool’s case, it was clear from the outset that F-M wasn’t going to push them around this time. In fact, the Warriors led, 5-4, at halftime, only to get shut out in the third quarter while its own defense did a superb job making sure the Hornets didn’t take over, either.
They were 5-5 going to the final period, and exchanged goals again. Then, with less than a minute to play, F-M’s Nick Papa, taking a pass from Donovan Welsh, flung a shot past Liverpool goalie Cole Zaferikas, who had made 11 saves to that point.
The Warriors had a chance to force overtime, but a last-second shot got gobbled up by Hornets goalie Ryan Boshart.
Steve Audley, with two goals and one assist, was the only player on either side to find the net more than once. Kyle Caves added two assists as Devin Dewane, Dan Salamino, Dylan Wallace and Cabry Hildmann got one goal apiece. Ian Conroy had an assist.
When Papa scored, he was the seventh different Hornets player to find the net, with Welsh, Luke Burnam, Mac Fish, James Rettinger, Ryan Cicci and Luke Hamel getting the other goals. Burnam had two assists and Tom Angelicola added an assist.
Any game between C-NS and West Genesee carried emotion since Northstars head coach Bill Aldrich is a WG graduate and played under legendary head coach Mike Messere. It was made even more so this time because Messere has announced that the 2018 season will be his last on the sidelines in Camillus.
Mired at 5-7 overall, and trying to avenge an 11-4 defeat to the Wildcats on April 20 at Bragman Stadium, C-NS played with extra energy in the early going, and that caught the Wildcats off guard. With one quarter gone, WG trailed, 4-1, but it recovered quickly enough and, by halftime, had tied it, 5-5.
They would stay close the rest of the way, and the Wildcats didn’t go in front for good until the fourth quarter, its attack largely carried by Jay Considine, who finished with five goals, more than half of WG’s output.
More often, though, C-NS goalie Brian Jobin frustrated them, making 11 saves as Tom Flynn led the Northstars’ attack with three goals and Brian Rowe added two goals. Josh Pickard and Austin VanDewalker had one goal apiece.
And the Northstars would prove that this effort wasn’t a fluke by going to Fayetteville-Manlius and beating the Hornets 10-8 two nights later.
Since it had played F-M close in their first meeting on April 25 (an 8-5 Hornets victory), C-NS had some confidence, augmented by the near-upset at West Genesee. That started to manifest itself in the second quarter, when the Northstars broke out of a 3-3 tie by holding the Hornets to one goal in that period.
Though the pace would pick up again, C-NS took a 9-7 lead to the fourth quarter, where its defense again stepped up, making all of the crucial stops down the stretch to preserve what could be a season-altering victory.
Pickard, with two goals and two assists, led a well-balanced Northstars attack. Flynn and VanDewalker each had two goals and one assist, with Justin Griffith and Brody Guido both getting one goal and one assist. Rowe and Josh Brazell had the other goals.
Liverpool didn’t leave the week empty-handed, either, prevailing on Senior Night Friday in a tough 12-10 decision over Syracus that avenged a 10-9 defeat to those same Cougars on April 25.
Steadily, the Warriors gained a 6-4 lead by halftime, only to have Syracuse fight back and get even, 8-8, with one quarter left. But it was Liverpool regaining the lead in the final period and overcoming six goals by the Cougars’ Matt Eccles.
Continuing his late-season charge, Audley nearly matched Eccles, scoring five times and adding an assist. Hildmann had three goals and two assists as Wallace and Salamino also got two assists. Caves had two goals as Dewane and Jake Piseno gained single assists.
Less than 24 hours later, Liverpool played again and routed Rome Free Academy 18-3, using nine goals in the second quarter to put the game away after amassing a 4-0 lead in the opening period.
Salamino scored five times, adding four assists. Hildmann had four goals as Wallace got three goals and two assists. Piseno found the net twice, with Audley getting one goal and four assists and Caves getting a goal and three assists. Lukas McIlroy and Ryan McGowan also earned goals.