All was now in place for the Liverpool girls soccer team as Baldwinsville showed up Tuesday night in the biggest game of the season to date, their first head-to-head encounter since last fall’s Section III Class AA final.
If there was any opportunity to get caught looking ahead to that clash, the Warriors would face it in last Wednesday’s game against West Genesee, but Bri Kovarik made sure that didn’t happen as she carried her team to a 3-0 shutout of the Wildcats.
Not content with a single first-half goal, Liverpool added two more after intermission, and Bri Kovarik was in the middle of each of the scoring plays, twice converting on goals and assisting on Carli Kovarik’s tally as Morgan Mitchell earned an assist, too.
Meanwhile, the Warriors’ defense held WG to just three shots, the type of resistance that would be needed against B’ville’s potent front line, and was repeated Friday night against New Hartford, where Liverpool prevailed over the Spartans 2-0.
For a half, New Hartford kept the Warriors off the board, but the pressure would take a toll and, in the latter stages, Carli Kovarik would both score a goal and then assist on Bri Kovarik’s tally. Liverpool held the Spartans to just three shots all night.
Cicero-North Syracuse had gained momentum for itself with back-to-back shutouts over Section IV foes on Sept. 16-17, routing Owego Free Academy 7-0 before handling Oneonta 3-0 a day later.
Against the Yellowjackets, the Northstars led, 2-0, by halftime, and added to that margin as Ashlyn Slate led a well-balanced attack with one goal and one assist. Ciera Murphy and Jenna Imbesi also picked up goals as Morgan Siechen and Haley Imbesi earned one assist apiece. Olivia Haven stopped all four shots she faced.
All of that momentum dissipated, though, when C-NS lost, 3-1, at Fayetteville-Manlius last Tuesday night, a game where the Hornets would get away in the second half and nearly get a shutout.
Not until Marissa Bukowski scored late in the second half did the Northstars put something past an F-M defense that limited shot selection throughout the night. Rachel Dobricki had two of the Hornets’ three goals, with Anna Hartzheim adding one goal and one assist.
And now the Northstars had to face Baldwinsville Thursday night at Archie Hall Stadium. To its credit, C-NS held up quite well against the Bees’ relentless pressure and stayed close all game, even if it took a 2-1 defeat.
Both of B’ville’s goals came in the first half as Hannah Mimas and Kelsey DeLola both found the net. From there, the Northstars’ defense tightened as Haven was superb, recording 12 saves by night’s end.
Given time to rally, C-NS, trailing 2-0, cut the deficit in half thanks to Bukowski’s goal, assisted by Siechen. Yet the Northstars could not possess the ball enough to make the Bees stress in the closing minutes.