At the tail end of a winning and productive week, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls lacrosse team saved its best effort for its toughest opponent.
Skaneateles, winner of the last five Section III Class C titles and a state finalist three years running, engaged in a great defensive battle with the Hornets last Saturday before the hosts held on to beat the Lakers 8-7.
Unlike so many other girls lacrosse games, goals became precious. A shutout for the game's first six-plus minutes set the tone before Skanetaeles' Maddy Morrissey scored to put her team on the board.
F-M answered quickly, as Morgan Axenfeld, Shannon McHugh and sophomore Taylor Robinson converted to put the Hornets up 3-1. A surge at the end of the half, though, helped Skaneateles draw even, 3-3, as they went to the break.
Just 1:05 into the second half, McHugh put in her second goal, fed by Mary Elizabeth Klepper, and the Hornets would not trail again.
All the while, the Lakers unleashed a constant amount of attacks. Somehow, Jessica Hotchkiss, Meg Helmer, Kieley O'Connor-Chapman, Caroline Helmer and Ali O'Neil all did a strong job protecting the net, with Lauren Webster contributing six saves.
A tense exchange of goals saw F-M go up 6-4 and 7-5, the last goal coming from Robinson with 3:08 to play. Skaneateles had Shannon Tierney score off a turnover with 37 seconds left, but F-M won the ensuing draw and ran out the clock.
McHugh finished with three goals, with Robinson adding two goals, including the eventual game-winner. Kate Bonsted had a goal and two assists. Jenna Lotkowictz was the lone Laker player to score twice.
Given a chance to unload on Rome Free Academy last Tuesday night, the Hornets gladly did so, pounding the Black Knights 22-2.
Emily Pierson, McHugh, Bonsted and Axenfeld each had three-goal hat tricks, with Pierson adding three assists and Axenfeld picking up two assists.