Nothing in the lead-up to last Wednesday's local girls soccer showdown had indicated that Skaneatles was about to beat Marcellus.
The Mustangs, despite some youthful inconsistency at times, had started 7-1 and worked its way to the front of the OHSL Liberty division again. Meanwhile, the Lakers were just 2-4 in league play and coming off a 4-1 loss to Manlius-Pebble Hill the day before.
So it surprised just about everyone that Skaneateles, instead of showing fatigue on a warm and sunny afternoon, took it right to its neighbors and rivals early, then made all the necessary plays down the stretch to preserve a 1-0 victory over Marcellus.
This was the second start for Mustang goalie Sophie Jackson in place of the injured Megan Tock, and she had to make a save 20 seconds into the game on a Carly Davis shot.
Spurred on by the sight of Marcellus, the Lakers kept attacking, using long runs with real chances to convert. And 9:34 into the game, Destin VanTyle's long shot from the right slipped out of Jackson's hands as Amanda Gray, right on the spot, knocked the loose ball into the net.
For the rest of the first half, the two sides played on even and physical terms, just as the Lakers wanted, so that one-goal margin held up.
Each time Marcellus wanted to push, Skaneateles defenders Alicia Frame, Emily Devins, Brooke McNeilly, Jackie Stucker and Maddy Morrissey made the stops. Morrissey twice left the game due to injury, but returned each time.
And when it was needed, goalkeeper Erica Tardiff made the stops -- eight saves in all. She got lucky a couple of times when two Marcellus shots -- one late in the first half by Kelsey Cavaretta, the other early in the second half from Alyssa Filtch -- rammed off the crossbar.