Lost in the whirlwind of the Skaneateles boys lacrosse team's total domination of the Section III Class C ranks, its 20-0 record and no. 2 state Class C ranking, was a small, nagging concern that, at first, didn't require an answer.
In none of those previous 20 games did an opponent get the tempo slowed down to where it wanted without surrendering an insurmountable advantage to the Lakers. And in none of those games was Skaneateles put in a position where, deep into the fourth quarter, it would have to rally to pull out a victory.
Faced with both of these realities for the first time in 2010 in last Tuesday night's Class C regional final at Union-Endicott High School, the Lakers saw its state title dreams crash down in a bitter 7-6 defeat to Section IV champion Corning East.
The circumstances were surreal long before both teams took the field. Despite its long-time reputation as a state and regional power, Corning East is in the midst of its last season before merging with crosstown rival Corning West for the 2010-2011 school year.
In the meantime, the Trojans were not expected to keep up with Skaneateles. Knowing those limitations, Corning East resolved to hang in early, then try to slow things down.
Which is exactly what happened. A 1-1 first quarter sharply contrasted all of the early scoring blitzes the Lakers had made routine throughout the spring.
Then the Trojans bolted ahead, 3-1, early in the second quarter as Joe Martuscello and Ben Dunlavey scored less than three minutes apart. Fighting back from a rare deficit, the Lakers saw Kevin Rice and Mike Richards convert to make it 3-3 going into the break.
If any team had stayed close to Skaneateles earlier in the season, by the third quarter the relentless pace set by the Lakers' pair of midfield lines would cause things to get away.