The last time it took the field, Fayetteville-Manlius put on a clinic and beat Syracuse, 20-2. Five days later, it did the same, went out without mercy, and opened postseason play with a 19-3 home win over Rome Free Academy (8-9, 5-4).
Having the 39 goals in the past two games has put F-M (10-7, 5-5) prime position to show up in the Section III Class A semifinal against Baldwinsville, but besides the big win that saw Chris Lubrino tack on five goals and four assists despite only playing in the first half, the Hornets have a variety of things to get them ready for round three with the Bees.
Last year, when the two teams matched up with a spot in the sectional final at stake, it went down to the wire. After F-M’s Donovan Welsh had the game-winner waved off at the end of regulation, Baldwinsville rode the momentum and scored the goal that led to the 9-8 loss that ended the season for the Hornets and marked the beginning of their current three-game losing streak to the Bees.
In the regular season, the two hungry groups found themselves tangled up twice. At the beginning of the year, they battled from beginning to end, and Baldwinsville ended up sneaking away with a 8-7 win, and then about two weeks later, the Hornets were down, 10-9, to Baldwinsville with a minute left, pressured the ball to try to get one more possession, but ended up conceding another goal.
As head coach Doug Madden points out, the close battles with Baldwinsville along with the other close games F-M has been involved in has helped it improve and has prepared it for the playoff atmosphere.
He said that the fact that his team has been involved in important and meaningful games will be a important when it steps on Cicero-North Syracuse’s turf for the most important game of the year. He said the Hornets are more battle-tested than they have been, and the offense is flowing better than it was.
Madden said that all the way up until game-time and even throughout the game on Thursday, it is going to be important that the Hornets think about what didn’t go well in rounds one and two, and learn from it.
“We are going to review the first two games against Baldwinsville, (and) highlight our mistakes and what we did well,” Madden said.
He said that F-M has to focus on being the good team that it has become by just playing its game falling into Baldwinsville’s hands. It will be important that it executes all game, he said, but the head coach said that “making sure the boys know that they are a great team” is the most valuable responsibility of his.