An air of excitement permeated as the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team fended off two big rivals and entered the Section III Class C playoffs with the belief that it can win back the title it loss to Carthage a year ago.
All of it began with Tuesday's game against Westhill, which drifted all the way into sudden-victory overtime before the Lakers edged past the Warriors 16-15.
Skaneateles knew, from its first meeting with Westhill on April 16, that it would be a tough side to dismiss, and the rematch confirmed that fact that the Lakers fell behind 9-8 by halftime.
Soon enough, Skaneateles detected Westhill's intentions -- namely, to take away Maddy Morrissey at all costs. That, eventually, would backfire.
Still, with the Warriors matching every Laker thrust, regulation ended 15-15, and so did a pair of three-minute overtime periods where neither side could convert.
Much of the third OT went scoreless too -- but with just 19.4 seconds showing, Shelby McNeilly, already with five goals and two assists, got open and thrust a shot past Westhill goalie Morgan Roach to win it.
To complement McNeilly, Erin Callahan posted three goals and three assists, while Aly Davis earned four assists to go with her lone goal. Grace Kelly and Carly Davis put up two goals apiece as Morrissey and Diane Vitkus earned single goals. For Westhill, Brenna Rainone had four goals and three assists, while Caroline Buonocore found the net five times.
Now the Lakers had to turn around and meet Marcellus in Thursday's regular-season finale. Like the April 20 meeting that went to overtime, it was a close affair -- but again Skanetaeles got the best of it, beating the Mustangs 10-8.
Throughout the game, the Skaneateles defense, led by Taylor Kerr and Sheila Gaffney, did a strong job containing the Mustangs, holding Nora Barry to two goals and limiting shots as the Lakers inched ahead 5-3 by halftime.
Skaneateles stayed in front through spreading things around. Morrissey and Carly Davis each had two goals and one assist, with Aly Davis getting three assists. McNeilly also found the net twice as Vitkus, Kelly, Callahan and Emma Ford also converted.
With 18 teams qualifying for the Class C tournament, it got split into C-1 and C-2 halves, with Skaneateles earning the no. 2 seed in C-2.
The Lakers host no.7 seed LaFayette in Monday's opening
round, with the winner to face Jordan-Elbridge or Westhill in Wednesday's semifinals. The C-2 final is Friday at Solvay's Earl Hadley Stadium.