Westhill girls lacrosse knocks off Skaneateles

All through this decade, whatever the Westhill girls lacrosse team tried to accomplish, it always ended up measuring itself against the reigning dynasty in Skaneateles, and coming up short.

Well, those days might be over.

Paced by star turns from Katie Doherty and Laura Zimmerman, the Warriors went to Skaneateles last Tuesday afternoon, started fast, and held on to knock off the Lakers 16-12, a win that could signal a serious run toward league and sectional honors later this spring.

This marked the first time Westhill has ever beaten Skaneateles in girls lacrosse, ending a drought that stretched back seven years, to 2001, before the Lakers' five-year reign as Section III Class C champions even began.

Having won four in a row since a season-opening loss to CBA on April 3, Westhill came in with some confidence, while Skaneateles had shown some vulnerability early this season, having to come from behind to beat Cazenovia on April 7.

What started as an exchange of goals between two high-powered offenses turned in Westhill's direction when the midfielders started to dominate the draws and ground balls, giving the Warriors even more opportunities to attack.

And with Doherty and Zimmerman finishing off scoring plays with regularity, the Warriors found itself in a comfortable 11-5 lead by halftime, a margin which had to shock Skaneateles fans accustomed to winning all these years.

To its credit, the Lakers made a big comeback attempt in the second half, but it had ceded too much ground, and the Warriors utilized ball control quite well to put the game away.

Doherty finished with six goals, tying a season mark. Often, Zimmerman fed her the ball, earning four assists to go with her own three-goal hat trick.

Mackenzie Rainone, Annie O'Connor and Samantha Marshall each scored twice, with O'Connor adding two assists. Carolyn Clark also scored, with Marshall, Colleen Lowery and Erin Bright each getting single assists.

Whenever the Lakers attacked, Morgan Roach held firm, as the Westhill goalie earned 12 saves. Kelsey Nangle (five goals), Shannon Tierney (three goals, two assists) and Jenna Lotkowictz (two goals, two assists) paced Skaneateles.

Now the Warriors hope not to have a letdown Thursday when it faces Cortland, a Class B favorite that has raced off to its own 4-0 start this spring.

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