So many times in the past, when someone tried to push the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team off its place atop the Section III Class C ranks, the Lakers would push back and stay on top.
That did not happen, though, in Tuesday night's Class C final against Christian Brothers Academy at Liverpool High School Stadium. The Lakers saw its championship dreams dashed when the Brothers took control in the waning minutes, beating Skaneateles 12-9 for its first sectional title since 2002.
"CBA is a great team," said head coach Bridget Marquardt. "On this night, they fought hard, wanted it more and outplayed us."
A particular culprit, said Marquardt, were the ground balls and draws that the Lakers could not grab as time wound down.
What made this more remarkable was how short-handed CBA was. Not only had it lost two key players, Taylor Gait and Natasha Grant, to season-ending torn ACLs early in May, it saw another starter, Michelle Wiese, taken off the field for
two yellow cards during the final.
And when Marisa Romeo drew a third yellow card with 9:38 left (and Carly Davis scored seconds later to tie it 9-9), the Lakers were one player up, 12-on-11, for the rest of the game. All the trends were in Skaneateles' favor.
Yet of the four remaining draws, CBA won all of them with a player, Sophie Racciatti, who took over draw control after Gait was injured. That led to goals from Racciatti, Meg Hannan and Taylor Poplawski within a span of less than four minutes, and the Brothers would also run out the clock, never letting Skaneateles get another chance to attack.
That it was so close wasn't too much of a surprise, since Skaneateles and CBA had split their regular-season meetings, with the combined total score 23 for the Lakers, 22 for the Brothers.