Less than 18 minutes showed on the clock in last Saturday's Class C regional final, and the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team was seeing its dream of a third consecutive state championship melt away on the turf of SUNY-Cortland.
Corning East was up 9-5 on the Lakers, a position no one other than Class A power West Genesee had enjoyed on Skaneateles all spring. Combine that fact with the 90-degree heat, and discouragement would not be difficult to generate.
But these are the Skaneateles Lakers, after all. When put in difficult spots in the recent past, it answered with majesty -- and it would do so again here.
Dominating down the stretch, Skaneateles reeled off seven unanswered goals and beat the Trojans, 12-9, setting up a return trip to Cortland for this weekend's state final four.
The rally brought back memories of last year's state final, on this same field (though in much colder conditions), when the Lakers rallied down the stretch to beat Penn Yan.
This was a matchup of the state's top two ranked Class C teams. Skaneateles was on top, of course, but Corning East was no. 2, having rattled off a 19-1 record. It was a new foe for the Lakers, since the Trojans had made numerous final four trips in Class B before getting moved down prior to the 2007 season.
Three days removed from getting 19 goals against CBA in a high-scoring Section III Class C final (see related story), Skaneateles knew Corning East was dead-set on preventing such a shootout -- and for the most part, it did.
Ainsley Baker, a senior bound for the University of Virginia, claimed most of the early draws, allowing the Trojans plenty of possession time in the first half and a chance to control the tempo. By doing this, Corning East quickly put the Lakers in a 5-1 deficit.