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Lakers survive Westhill again, reach C-1 final

At times, the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team's work may not be aesthetic or fast-paced as some successful instances in the past.

But the Lakers have still reached a familiar spot - playing for a Section III title - through hard work and sticking to its game plan, regardless of how it might look.

Such was the case in Wednesday night's Class C-2 semifinal at Marcellus, where the no. 2 seed Lakers fought past no. 6 seed Westhill 8-7 to advance to Friday's title game against top seed Christian Brothers Academy.

Remarkably, it was the third time this spring that Skaneateles had beaten Westhill by a single goal. It went 11-10 back on April 17, then 16-15 in a triple-overtime epic on May 18, just eight days before they met in the playoffs.

Knowing how close those previous encounters were, and also aware of how potent Westhill's trio of Caroline Buonocore, Brenna Rainone and Emily Haggerty could be, the Lakers would slow things down in this third - and most important - meeting.

Whenever it had possession in the first half, Skaneateles carefully worked the ball around, looking for good shots, rather than taking the first one available.

Thanks to Morgan Roach's early saves, though, the Lakers couldn't get away, despite goals by Maddy Morrissey and Emma Ford. And when Buonocore and Molly Kiggins converted late in the half, Westhill had a 3-2 lead.

That would be the Warriors' only advantage. Diane Vitkus hit a big goal 23.9 seconds before halftime to tie it, 3-3, and that seemed to give her team long-term fuel for the second-half battle ahead.

After an exchange of goals, Carly Davis pushed Skaneateles ahead for good, 5-4, on a goal fed by Aly Davis with 16:59 left. Aly returned to feed Diane Vitkus for a goal that gave the Lakers its first two-goal margin of the night.

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