Though the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team has engaged in many memorable duels with LaFayette through the years, few, if any, of those contests had an ending as exciting as what was offered last Saturday in the Section III Class C semifinals at Coyne Field.
Trailing in the fourth quarter, appearing to be on its way out, the Lakers rose up and staged a remarkable comeback, ending the season of the state Class C no. 1-ranked Lancers in a 9-8 thriller.
And an unlikely hero emerged in the process. Junior attacker Oliver Moore accomplished a three-goal hat trick in the fourth quarter to bring Skaneateles back, capping his effort by scoring the game-winner with 1:40 left in regulation.
This game went through three distinct phases -- the Lakers controlling the early stages through lights-out defense, LaFayette rallying to take charge by the fourth quarter, only to see Skaneateles do the same in the final act.
With Matt Wood dominating on face-offs, the Lakers were able to dictate the game's tempo much of the way, preventing LaFayette from getting a large number of scoring chances.
Once Tom Schoener scored late in the first quarter to break a 1-1 tie, Skaneateles led for the rest of the half, going up 4-1 at one point. At every turn, defenders Brennan Buell, Jordan Markley, Kyle McQUiggan and Lexus Johnson frustrated LaFayette's potent attackers, leading to rushed shots and turnovers.
Despite this control, though, Skaneateles only carried a 4-2 advantage to the break. And late in the third quarter, with the Lakers still ahead 5-3, LaFayette made its move.
Brad Romancik connected on back-to-back shots from the point in the last minute of the period, and Zach Guy's fourth goal, 14 seconds into the fourth quarter, gave the Lancers its first lead of the afternoon, 6-5.