Skaneateles girls top Clinton, Ilion in playoffs

Relegated to a no. 11 seed, the Skaneateles girls soccer team had no choice but to go on two long road trips to keep itself in the Section III Class B playoffs -- which it would do, with both style and substance.

It all began last Tuesday, against no. 6 seed Clinton. Overcoming a poor first half, the Lakers made a remarkable rally and beat the Warriors, 3-2, in overtime.

Perhaps affected by the long bus ride, Skaneateles took a while to warm up. And as it did, Christine Matdonia and Lexy Grabeloinger scored to give the hosts a 2-0 lead going into the break.

Sensing the desperation, the Lakers took over in the second half. Shannon Tierney got her team on the board, and red-hot Jenna Lotkowictz tied it, sending the game into OT, where the two sides play a pair of full 10-minute periods.

There, an unlikely hero emerged. Laura Ross, a defender, intercepted a clearing attempt and, from 30 yards out, fired a low bullet that sneaked past Clinton goalie Wilton Burns for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Prior to that, Burns had made 12 saves, but Skaneateles goalie Kara Buehler wasn't quiet, overcoming her early struggles to finish with 10 saves.

Now the Lakers gladly went back on the bus travel even further east and play no. 3 seed Ilion in Thursday night's Class B quarterfinals.

And once again, the Lakers showed an ability to rally, only this time it didn't need overtime as it topped the Golden Bombers 3-1.

Leslie Durant had scored to put Ilion in front, 1-0, but Skaneateles stayed patient, waiting again for the second half to make its big move.

Once it happened, Devan Kerr took full advantage of the defensive attention Ilion gave to Lotkowictz, scoring twice. Tierney would score, too, and Buehler, with seven saves, helped make that lead stick.

All told, it was a glorious week for the Liberty division, as Skaneateles, Westhill, Cazenovia and Marcellus all made their way to the semifinals by virtue of winning on the road against higher seeds.

On Tuesday night, Skaneateles and Cazenovia would meet each other in the Class B semifinals at Solvay's Earl Hadley Stadium. The winner would go to SUNY-Cortland to face Marcellus or Westhill in this weekend's championship game.

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