Cicero For the Skaneateles girls volleyball team, it worked the second time around.
The Section III Class C champion Lakers earned its first-ever state tournament victory Thursday night, beating Section V champion LeRoy in four sets in the opening round at Cicero-North Syracuse.
In doing so, Skaneateles avenged last year's defeat to the Oatkan Knights in this same regional round. Head coach Doreen Doctor said her entire roster contributed to the victory.
"All the girls came to play tonight," she said.
Perhaps a true sign of the Lakers' growth was the way it responded to the way LeRoy rose up in the second set. Skaneateles had appeared to take control by winning the opening set 25-20, but the Oatkan Knights used a powerful front line to claim the second set by a comfortable 25-16 margin.
After that, said Doctor, "I told them to just go play and keep it on the court."
And the Lakers did so, breaking open a close third set with eight consecutive points go go ahead 14-5 on its way to a 25-16 win, reclaiming the match lead for good.
LeRoy appeared ready to send the match to the limit, leading 11-6 early in the fourth set. From there, though, Skaneateles went on a 15-3 run that all but decided the match as the Lakers prevailed, 25-16, and closed it out.
Doctor had high praise for her libero, Melissa Severance, saying she "had the game of her career" on the way to 15 digs.
Colleen Cargile, with 20 assists and 10 digs, and Sidney Lawson, with 16 assists, split the back-line duties, while Julianna Augustine managed 18 kills and three blocks and Joanna Dean added 12 kills, plus 13 digs. Amanda Shoenfelt contributed eight digs, with Natalie Roche getting three kills.
A huge challenge awaited Skaneateles in Saturday's regional final at Sweet Home High School in suburban Buffalo. Eden, with a long history of winning that includes an astonishing 13 straight Section VI titles, met the Lakers for a spot in next weekend's state final four in Glens Falls.
Sure enough, the Raiders proved far too good, taking just 45 minutes to beat Skaneateles 25-9, 25-13, 25-1. But that defeat could not deflate what the Lakers had accomplished this fall, taking one step closer to what it hopes, in the future, to be greater glory.