In the span of just two weeks, the Fayetteville-Manlius boys soccer team rose from outside the top 10 in the state Class AA rankings all the way to the no. 2 spot, behind only Rochester McQuaid.
That spot would be on the line Saturday night at Pelcher-Arcaro Stadium, where the Hornets would clash once more with no. 11-ranked Baldwinsville, whom it beat 2-1 on Sept. 19 at Swan Pond by scoring twice in the game’s opening minutes.
The rematch would have another quick start – but it came from the Bees, who surprised the Hornets with a near-perfect first half and went on to prevail, 3-1, putting an end to F-M’s 13-match win streak.
One big difference in this Hornets-Bees edition was that this was on the Field Turf at B’ville, a different surface than the grass at Swan Pond. And as games at Nottingham and Henninger had showed, the Hornets sometimes had more difficulty dealing with the faster surface conditions.
Sensing that the Hornets needed to adjust, the Bees stepped up its attack and, in the 14th minute, grabbed the lead on Josh Price’s goal. Then Brandon Mimas, bottled up throughout the first meeting, found his way through F-M’s defenses and netted back-to-back goals, his 21st and 22nd of the season. Alex Charest and Michael Allen got credit for assists.
So it was 3-0 going into halftime, and the Hornets would try and catch up. Yet other than Grant Olick-Sutphen’s second-half goal assisted by Cole Teelin,, the Bees didn’t let anything else get past Donovan Moore, who finished the night with seven saves. F-M goalies Chris Szidat and Tim Kaiser had 10 saves between them.
Starting the week at 11-0, F-M made it 12 in a row against visiting Nottingham last Monday night, cruising past the Bulldogs 4-0 at Swan Pond, a stark contrast to the 1-0 overtime thriller the Hornets had to pull out earlier this season.
Here, F-M didn’t wait until regulation was over, leading 2-0 by halftime and then doubling that margin as four different players – Alex Bychkov, Nate Donella, Riley Burke and Will Lenczewski – earned those four goals. Ben Hammond got two assists as Ryan Varley added an assist. Nottingham goalie Nyabenda Mukasi made 19 saves.
In last Wednesday’s game at Henninger, the Hornets ran the win streak to 13, but it wasn’t that easy. The 2-0 victory was scoreless until the second half, when F-M, finally adjusting to the artificial surface, broke through with goals from Burke and Cole Teelin, with Hammond getting an assist.
Long before the boys showdown on Saturday, the F-M girls soccer team registered its most impressive victory of the season last Tuesday when it turned back defending sectional champion Liverpool in a 4-3 thriller.
When these teams first met on Sept. 13 at LHS Stadium, it was Liverpool prevailing 2-1. Entering the rematch, F-M only had a 5-6 record, but the memory of its previous close call provided some confidence, and even a Warriors goal in the first five minutes didn’t sway those feelings.
Instead, Rachel Dobricki put in a goal in the 17th minute to tie it, 1-1, and barely five minutes later Hannah Knitch found the net to give the Hornets a 2-1 lead. Suddenly, Liverpool’s defense was vulnerable, and F-M kept pushing as Dobricki’s goal in the 32nd minute doubled the hosts’ lead.
Even when the Warriors cut the deficit to 3-2, Dobricki answered four minutes later, completing her hat trick. From there, Liverpool settled down and, once more, moved within one, but helped by Sabrina Suriani’s eight saves, the Hornets held on, Alexandra Vinci credited with two assists.
F-M now looked for another big win Thursday night, at Cicero-North Syracuse, a team it had handled 3-1 at home barely two weeks earlier. Avoiding any kind of letdown, the Hornets shored up its defense and shut out the Northstars 2-0.
C-NS gave itself plenty of chances, but while F-M had to resist that pressure, it did so, Suriani stopping all 10 shots she faced. Buoyed by her work, the Hornets took advantage of its opportunities twice, once in each half as Dobricki notched one goal and Anna Hartzheim earned the other.
Mar 18, 2018