Oct 29, 2010 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Even at 16-0, even as the state’s top-ranked team, and even with a no. 1 seed, the Skaneateles boys soccer team might end up having the toughest possible climb to earn a Section III Class B championship.
At least the first two steps for the Lakers up the tournament ladder involve beating long-time rivals in the OHSL Liberty division who know every intricate detail of what Skaneateles does on the field, which is bound to make things trickier – at least in theory.
Or the Lakers could simply do what it has accomplished every other time it stared down an obstacle this fall – namely, win.
And the winning continued Friday night when one of those big rivals, no. 8 seed Marcellus, paid a visit to Skaneateles – and left the field two hours later with its season over as the Lakers shut them out, 3-0, in the Class B quarterfinals.
This was, of course, the same match-up as the 2009 sectional final, where Marcellus won. But while the Mustangs underwent a coaching change and complete turnover of its starting lineup, Sknaeateles returned most of its stars, with nothing less than championships as a target.
During the regular season, the quest included two wins over Marcellus. However, a 3-2 victory on the Mustangs’ turf just a week before the playoffs suggested that, perhaps, the defending champions were catching up to the Lakers – and a 7-0 first-round romp over Ilion, where Cal Filtch and Keenan Vaughn both notched three-goal hat tricks, only added to the concern.
The nerves among the Laker faithful only grew during the first half as Skaneateles unleashed a wave of attacks, but could not get anything past red-hot Marcellus goalie Mitch Schoenbrun, who would finish with 19 saves. They went to the break 0-0, Marcellus perhaps thinking that another conquest was within reach.
But the second half proved a different story, as Spencer Parker took over. Parker, the Lakers’ hottest offensive player in the late stages of the regular season, gave his side a 1-0 lead on a deft free kick, then beat Schoenbrun a second time later in the half, assuring that the Lakers’ win streak would reach 17.
Ryan Farrell earned the other Skaneateles tally, with A.J. Richichi and Jeff Baldetti picking up assists. Defensively, the Lakers, led again by sweeper Tim Lewis, put up a strong resistance throughout the night, limiting Marcellus to just three shots.
This sets up an exciting Class B semifinal where the Lakers will take on another big rival – Westhill, the no. 5 seed, who beat Adirondack 8-0 and Mount Markham 2-0 to reach this point in the tournament. Again, Skaneateles will have to beat an opponent for the third time in 2010 if it wants to play for a sectional title against Clinton or South Jefferson.