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Rice scores 11 as Lakers reach final

Ruthless and in top form, the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team is bent on winning a third consecutive state Class C championship.

And it doesn't hurt to have someone like Stephanie Rice around.

With the chance at breaking her own single-season OHSL scoring record set in 2006, Rice managed to top herself last Thursday when her team beat Westhill 15-10 in the Section III Class C semifinals at Henninger High School's Sunnycrest Field.

In just 40 minutes of field time, Rice poured in 11 goals, a new school record, and just one off the league record Kate Schalk (Fayetteville-Manlius) set 14 years ago.

"I was just getting open, and my teammates were passing the ball well," said Rice.

Head coach Bridget Marquardt said Westhill's defenders allowed Rice one-on-one looks, which she constantly exploited, much to the Warriors' chagrin.

"She got open, and they (Westhill) were not adjusting," said Marquardt.

That wasn't the case as much in the game's early stages. Playing with all kinds of intensity, Westhill matched Skaneateles, and used goals by Katie Doherty and Lizzy Coholan just 12 seconds apart to tie the game, 3-3.

At just that moment, midway through the first half, the two teams were sent to the sidelines to get some liquids, an allowance to the hot conditions of the afternoon.

It came at a perfect time for the Lakers. Marquardt said her team needed to get the ground balls to set up more scoring chances.

Rice agreed. "We came out kind of flat," she said. "(After the break), we just needed to play with more intensity."

That was achieved, quite easily. Skaneateles proceeded to shut out Westhill for more than 27 minutes, as defenders like Margaret Shanley and Kaitlin Clark protected the net any time the Warriors tried to attack.

Meanwhile, Rice was tearing Westhill to pieces. Amid a decisive 9-0 run, Rice scored eight of her 11 goals, mostly doing so by cutting to the net and taking a feed from behind. Shannon Tierney (three assists) and Kelsey Nangle (two assists) were the main feeders.

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