Vitkus goals send Lakers past South Jefferson

Though it only had a 5-9-2 regular-season record, the Skaneateles girls soccer team still earned a berth in the Section III Class B playoffs - and still aimed to make a long run through it.

Thanks to Diane Vitkus, the no. 11 seed Lakers made it through one big road test as it went to Adams and knocked off no. 6 seed South Jefferson 2-0 in last Tuesday's opening round.

Even though the Spartans entered the game with a 12-3-1 mark, it had not faced the kind of day-in, day-out tests that Skaneateles dealt with from the likes of Marcellus, Solvay and Westhill in the OHSL Liberty division.

So it wasn't a big surprise that, in the first half, the Lakers played on even terms with South Jefferson, getting just as many offensive opportunities. And while it remained 0-0, the visitors' confidence slowly grew.

Still, patient was needed as, midway through the second half, it was still scoreless as both sides waited for someone to break through.

Vitkus would do so. She pushed a shot past Spartans goalie Bailey Graves in the 63rd minute, giving Skanetaeles a 1-0 lead, and just five minutes later Vitkus returned and got an insurance goal.

All game long, the Lakers' defense proved strong and consistent, preserving the shutout as goalie Mary Buck only had to make six saves.

On Thursday, Skaneateles will be on the road again, taking another long bus ride - this time east, to face no. 3 Ilion in the Class B quarterfinals. The winner gets Marcellus or Lowville in the semifinals early next week.

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