Liverpool sophomore Ore Akinpelu (7) celebrates with teammate Alexis Kline (9) after the pair combined to produce the first goal in the Warriors’ 3-0 victory over West Genesee in Thursday night's Class AA quarterfinal. Liverpool will face Cicero-North Syracuse in the semifinals after the Northstars eliminated Rome Free Academy 4-0.
Not since 2007, when they met in the championship round, will the Liverpool and Cicero-North Syracuse girls soccer teams meet with so much on the line.
The setting this time will be Nottingham High School, and the setting will be the Section III Class AA semifinal, a match set up by the comfortable wins both the Warriors and Northstars would attain in Thursday night's post-season openers.
Liverpool, the no. 2 seed and defending champions, welcomed no. 7 seed West Genesee to LHS Stadium, and though it took a while, it would pull away from the Wildcats in a 3-0 shutout.
They had only met five days earlier, on a muddy field in Camillus in the Oct. 20 regular-season finale. Liverpool pulled out that game 2-1, and had no intentions of making it as stressful in this playoff encounter.
Just 4:57 into the game, Ore Akinpelu struck, taking a nice feed from the right corner by Alexis Kline and blasting a hard shot past WG goalkeeper Andrea Francisco into the top-left portion of the net, and the Warriors led 1-0.
It stayed that way the rest of the half, Liverpool rarely getting chances, but defending well against the Wildcats’ set plays. No play was more important, though, than goalie Rebecca Phillips-Allen stopping WG’s Melissa Fumano on a point-blank look as the halftime horn sounded.
Fired up by that, Liverpool attacked again early in the second half, and in the 47th minute made it 2-0 as Kyla Bills converted from the left side, assisted by senior captain Jennifer Higgins. Alyssa Bittel added a third goal with 14:34 left to seal it.
Just as that game was finishing, C-NS, the no. 3 seed, was starting out against no. 6 seed Rome Free Academy at Archie Hall Stadium. As it turned out, the Northstars would again have its way with the Black Knights in a 4-0 romp.