Now came the culmination of the Skaneateles girls volleyball team's bold move from the winter to the autumn as it began its pursuit of a state Class C championship.
Having survived a five-game battle with Cazenovia on Nov. 5 just to reach this point, the Lakers got involved in another long contest with Section V champion LeRoy last Wednesday night at Victor High School, near Rochester.
Only this time, Skanaeateles would lose in five games after surrendering a mid-match lead and, as a result, see its dreams of going to Glens Falls Civic Center for the state championships snuffed out.
Winners of 17 matches in a row, Skaneateles did get the jump on the Oatkan Knights, who were riding its own 20-game win streak. In a close first game, Skaneateles got all the necessary points at the end and prevailed, 25-21, to move in front.
LeRoy responded by claiming each of the next two games. Just like the opener, once a team got in front, it stayed there as the Oatkan Knights claimed the second game 25-20 and the third game 25-19.
Faced with elimination, Skaneateles stood up in the fourth game and, by a 25-21, extended the match to the wire. But LeRoy took full advantage of all the Lakers' mistakes in the fifth game and prevailed 25-15 to advance to the regional finals.
On the front line, Caroline Walton put up 14 kills, while Julianna Augustine contributed 11 kills and libero Erin Callahan offered stellar defense. Colleen Cargile fed both of them with 30 assists. LeRoy saw sophomore Kaitlyn Tyler put away 42 kills as setter Megan Condidorio mixed in 38 assists with 31 digs.
Skaneateles, who finished at 17-2, will see seven seniors depart, including Walton, Callahan, Gabby Eckles, Anna Goodell, Jordan Dudden, Alyssa Stevens and Sheila Gaffney. A solid core that includes Cargile, Augustine and Joanna Dean should make the Lakers' second fall campaign in 2011 an interesting one.