A low point for the Liverpool boys lacrosse team came late in April when, having already taken one-sided defeats to West Genesee and Baldwinsville, it fell to Cicero-North Syracuse and scored just three goals.
So it had to give the Warriors plenty of satisfaction when it reunited with the Northstars in last Tuesday’s opening round of the Section III Class A playoffs at LHS Stadium and rolled to a 16-6 victory.
This more resembled the Liverpool side that started 6-0 than the injury-riddled Warriors squad that underwent a 2-6 slide before recovering to win its last two regular-season games.
C-NS, having done so well against Liverpool the month before, tried, at first, to match the fire the Warriors brought to the field, trading goals early and only trailing 5-3 late in the first quarter.
As time wound down in the period, though, Liverpool made a key defensive stop and then went into transition. Just as the horn sounded, Kyle Caves fired a shot past Northstars goalie Brian Jobin.
While that goal only made it 6-3, it seemed to have a permanent effect on both sides.
At the very least, Liverpool went out and dominated the second quarter, blanking C-NS and getting five straight goals, the last two by Cabry Hildmann, which created an 11-3 halftime advantage and all but settled the outcome.
Hildmann and Ryan McGowan led the way, each netting four goals as Hildmann got two assists and McGowan one assist. Caves and Ian Conroy both scored twice, Caves adding three assists and Conroy two assists.
Lukas McIlroy had a goal and two assists as Luke Ruggaber contributed one goal and one assist. Ben Root and Jacob Fahey also converted as Jake Piseno added an assist and led a strong Warriors defense that coalesced around goalie Cole Zaferakis, who stopped 19 of 25 shots he faced.
In defeat, C-NS only had Brody Guido score twice, with single goals going to Austin VanDewalker, Anthony Cimino and Jason Meigs. Justin Griffith added two assists.
Now Liverpool took aim at top seed West Genesee in the sectional Class A semifinal Thursday night at Bragman Stadium. The hope for the Warriors was that the Wildcats would be rusty from a two-week break and would buckle under the immense pressure to win a title in coaching legend Mike Messere’s final season.
As it turned out, none of that happened. WG was ready from the start, and Liverpool could not contain all of it as its season ended again at the Wildcats’ hands in a 16-5 defeat.
It took four minutes for the Wildcats to get on the board, but once Ryan Smith converted, much more followed. Smith scored twice in those early stages, with a Ryan Sheehan goal in between.
Then, in a stretch of less than a minute late in the period, Liverpool got put away. Anthony Datellas, Kevin Sheehan and Noah Sabatino all hit on goals, doubling WG’s margin, so even though Liverpool did convert in the waning seconds, it trailed 6-1, and would not fully recover.
Steadily, the Wildcats worked its margin to 10-2 by halftime and didn’t relax one bit, outscoring the Warriors 4-3 in an active third period to prevent any hopes for a comeback.
Of Liverpool’s five goals, two each came from McIlroy and Fahey, with McGowan earning the other goal. Caves had two assists and Root one assist as Zaferakis finished with nine saves.
For the Wildcats, Datellas finished the night with four goals, while Jack Howes had three goals and one assist. Kevin Sheehan earned three assists as Sabatino scored twice.
WG would meet Fayetteville-Manlius in the sectional final next Wednesday night after the Hornets rallied to knock off defending champion Baldwinsville 8-7.
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