May 29, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Whatever had gone wrong in the regular season could be forgotten if the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team could reverse its fortune in the Section III Class C playoffs.
Sure enough, when it met up with no. 2 seed Westhill in last Thursday night’s quaterfinal round, a close contest finally went the Lakers’ way as it pulled out an 11-10 victory over the Warriors.
Twice, Skaneateles had met Westhill in the regular season. Both times, it had gone to overtime — and both times, the Warriors had prevailed, two of a long string of games where the Lakers had a chance to win, but could not.
To turn that around in the third meeting, Skaneateles tried, from the opening draw, to dictate the game’s tempo, concentrating on long possessions to neutralize Westhill’s ability to score in bunches.
It worked, as the Lakers would never trail on this night, even though the Warriors came back six different times to force ties, testing Skaneateles’ resolve to the full degree.
The Lakers led 4-2 and 7-4 at different points in the first half, pushed there by Lindsay Angelillo, who had three goals, and Diane Vitkus, who scored twice.
Westhill, led by Annie O’Connor’s four goals, pulled back even each time. Back-to-back tallies from O’Connor early in the second half made it 8-8.
So the exchange continued as the tension built. Alison Steckel and Katherine Pille landed goals to push the Lakers ahead, only to have O’Connor and Mackenzie Rainone convert in response. Rainone’s goal with 4:12 left forced yet another tie at 10-10.
Once Skaneateles won the ensuing draw, though, it kept possession until the final minute, patiently passing the ball and waiting for the right moment to stake.
It came with 49.9 seconds left when Carly Davis broke free in front of the net and, taking a pass from Maddy Morrissey, flung the shot past Morgan Roach, again putting Skaneateles in front by a goal.
Westhill won a scramble for the ensuing draw and, as time wound down, worked toward one more free-position shot. Caroline Buonocore took it — and Heather Mullen made the save as time ran out.
Much as Skaneateles (who beat Tully 15-7 in the first round) celebrated a huge win over a Westhill team that had won 14 in a row at one point during the season, it had to refocus quickly. For in Saturday’s Class C semifinal at West Genesee, it would have to face no. 3 seed Marcellus, whom it rallied to beat in the 2008 sectional title game.