May 25, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Properly rested, and primed for a championship push, the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team roared through all of its opposition to return to the Section III Class C title game.
As the no. 3 seed, the Lakers drew a first-round bye, a welcome sight after a tough campaign that, at 13-3, left them also with the no. 3 spot in the state Class C rankings.
For its Class C quarterfinal last Tuesday night at Hyatt Stadium, Skaneateles faced no. 6 seed Mexico, who had edged past Cortland 7-5 in the opening round on May 19 and was one of the area’s most improved teams this spring.
Still, the Tigers had never gone this far in the playoffs in the program’s brief history. That inexperience showed up here as the Lakers jumped all over Mexico and roared to an 18-6 victory.
Rain arrived just as the game started, but the Lakers didn’t care. It took less than 10 minutes for Skaneateles to build a 5-0 lead, three of the goals coming from Carly Davis, whose quick hat trick set the night’s tone.
Though unable to maintain that torrid pace the rest of the half, Skaneateles still took an 8-1 lead to the break, and quickly made it 10-1 early in the second half, as the rain let up.
The Lakers started to relax – and Mexico took advantage of this with five straight goals, slicing the margin to 10-6 midway through the half. But starting with Shelby McNeilly’s goal with 12:30 left, Skaneateles scored eight straight to put things away.
Overall, Davis had six goals and two assists, with McNeilly managing five goals and one assist. Nicole Beatson backed up her pair of goals with two assists as Alana Navaroli and Sophie Gorman also scored twice. Emma Ford added a goal, with Maura Tierney and Hannah Powers earning assists.
This put the Lakers into Thursday’s Class C semifinal at Henninger’s Sunnycrest Field against no. 2 seed Watertown IHC. Unlike Skaneateles, the Cavaliers had required a frantic second-half comeback, aided by three disallowed goals for improper pockets, just to get past LaFayette 18-17 in its quarterfinal.
Perhaps that took something out of IHC, for Skaneateles put together another impressive all-around effort to eliminate the Cavaliers 12-6 and return to the title game.
As the Lakers’ defense shut down anything IHC tried to establish early, the Lakers again turned to Davis, whose pair of early goals keyed a 3-0 start as Ford also converted.
Then, in a 10-second span late in the half, Davis hit her third goal and McNeilly also converted, expanding the margin to 5-0. It took more than 18 minutes before IHC finally got on the board, but goals from McNeilly and Gorman made it 7-2 at the half.
Try as it could, the Cavaliers could not make a sustained run. After the Lakers’ margin briefly went to 7-3 early in the second half, Beatson and Ford both scored, bringing the margin to 9-3.
And after IHC made it 9-5, Davis hit on her fourth goal with 14:24 left, and Skaneateles stayed patient as Ford and McNeilly both completed hat tricks in the latter stages to seal the win.
Tuesday’s Class C final at West Genesee gives Skaneateles yet another shot at defending state champion and no. 1 seed Christian Brothers Academy.
The Brothers dispensed of Cazenovia (18-11) and Tully (19-8) in its first two playoff games to reach the championship round. CBA knocked off Skaneateles in the sectional final one year ago and also beat the Lakers twice in the regular season.