What had started as the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team's romp through last Tuesday night's Section III Class C quarterfinal against Tully turned into something quite different by the time it was done.
Instead of the no. 3 seed Lakers charging into Thursday's semifinal against long-time rival Marcellus, it was glad to escape with a 16-15 victory over the no. 6 seed Black Knights, who erased an eight-goal deficit in the second half before Skaneateles pulled it out.
Tully had beaten Cazenovia 16-12 in the first round on May 14, but in the first half offered little resistance on the defensive side against an all-out attack from the rested Lakers, who enjoyed a first-round bye.
The quintet of Carly Davis, Dianne Vitkus, Shelby McNeilly, Emma Ford and Erin Callahan continually pushed their way to the net and continually converted, not letting up until Skaneateles enjoyed a 12-4 lead at the break.
This was close to the same margin Skaneateles had enjoyed at CBA on May 19 before it turned close at the end, and Tully, perhaps remembering that fact (and remembering that it had pushed Skaneateles in a 14-11 decision at the end of April), staged its own charge.
Led by Courtney DeOrdio, who finished with four goals, and Alexis Drumm, who had three goals and one assist, the Black Knights ate away at the margin until, with 5:51 left, Allison Bolt's goal forged a 14-14 tie.
After taking a time-out to regroup, the Lakers turned to Vitkus, who didn't disappoint. She fed a well-timed pass to McNeilly to put Skaneateles back in front 15-14, and Vitkus returned with 11.5 seconds left to beat Tully goalie Carly Jones for what proved to be the game-winner.
Overall, Vitkus had five goals and two assists. Ford scored four times, while McNeilly managed three goals and two assists. Callahan and Davis both had two goals as freshman Alana Navaroli also had a goal and goalie Shannon Byrne made nine saves.
This sets up the semifinal against Marcellus, set for 7 p.m. Thursday night at West Genesee. In stark contrast to the drama at Skaneateles, the no. 2 seed Mustangs, who had lost its last two regular-season games (including one to Tully on the same day Skaneateles held off CBA), easily handled Jordan-Elbridge 17-7 in its quarterfinal.
Though they arrive on different paths, the Lakers and Mustangs have the same goal in mind - a spot in next Tuesday's final against CBA or South Jefferson at Liverpool High School Stadium.