Loudly announcing its intentions to contend for both league and Section III honors in a couple of week's time, the Chittenango girls lacrosse team went to East Syracuse-Minoa last Monday night and put together a 12-10 victory over the Spartans.
It was the second time in 11 days the two OHSL Freedom division rivals had clashed. The Bears had lost the first encounter at home April 29, but the narrow 11-10 margin gave Chittenango confidence that it could gain some payback.
For a while, the rematch was a duplicate of the original, ESM clawing its way to a 5-4 halftime lead. But the Bears' attack, paced once more by Jenna Barber, took over late, burning the Spartans' defense over and over as it moved in front.
By game's end, Barber had amassed five goals and two assists. Kaitlin Antelmi managed her own three-goal hat trick, while Brianna Schiedo scored twice.
Shannen Sweeney and Carlie Roman had the other goals as Rachel Antelmi added an assist. Marlee Vlassis (three goals, one assist) and Nikki DeVona (four goals) led ESM's effort as Bears goalie Elizabeth Dennee recorded 10 saves.
There was no letdown, either, as a day later the Bears outlasted Homer 15-9. A wild first half saw Chittenango work hard to establish a 10-7 lead, and in the late stages the defense took over, holding the Trojans to two goals in the second half.
All by herself, the unstoppable Barber matched Homer with nine goals, adding three assists. Antelmi had her second three-goal effort in as many nights as Katie Putnam and Laura Lang earned the other goals.
Another big effort followed in Thursday 21-9 win over Clinton. For a while, the Warriors hung around, only trailing 8-4 at the half, but Chittenango's attack proved far too much in the latter stages.
Barber's six goals and two assists gave her 20 for the week, while Antelmi also had eight points, finishing with four goals and four assists. Roman, Lang and Sierra Shafer offered further support with three-goal hat tricks, with Putnam adding a goal and two assists and Sweeney also converting.
The Bears, now at 11-3 on the season, will use games against Cortland and Mexico this week to tune up for the Section III playoffs.