Though it keeps getting involved in close games, the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team still finds the will and desire to prevail in them, too, doing so on back-to-back days early last week.
First, Skaneateles ventured to Cazenovia last Monday and, for the second time in five days, won this battle of Laker teams, taking this edition by a score of 8-5.
The first meeting, in Skaneateles May 8, produced an 8-6 win after the western Lakers trailied the eastern Lakers early.
That wasn't the case in the sequel. Playing near-perfect defense, Skaneateles shut out Cazenovia in the first quarter and remained stingy most of the way, going to halftime protecting a 5-1 advantage.
Try as it could in the second half, the eastern Lakers could not catch up. Kelly Donigan and Eric Richards each had two goals, while Ian Newland, Ryan Callahan, Tom Schoener and Keith Buehler got single goals. Newland and Callahan also found the assist column.
Cazenovia kept firing shots at the net -- and Josh Kimm kept stopping them, earning 15 saves on 20 tries. Brett Axelson, in defeat, led the eastern Lakers with three goals and one assist.
Barely 24 hours later, the Lakers were at home, trailing for most of its game against Jordan-Elbridge before Richards carried them to a 9-8 overtime victory over the Eagles.
Flat at the start, Skaneateles got shut out in the first quarter. However, J-E could not build upon its 3-0 lead and Richards helped the Lakers answer in an active second period.
Closing within one, 5-4, at halftime, Skaneateles then hung right with J-E throughout a tense second half, tying it 8-8 late in regulation and not getting frustrated by Eagle goalie Ken Bush making 16 saves.
Finally, in the OT session, Skaneateles got the ball and Richards won it, flinging a hard shot past Bush. It was Richards' fifth goal of the night, many of them fed by Buehler, who had three assists to go with his pair of goals. Schoener also scored twice. Joey Popple (two goals, two assists) and Kory Smart (two goals, one assist) led a much more balanced Eagle offense.