Camillus By most objective standards - even the other side seemed to agree - the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team outplayed Christian Brothers Academy for large parts of Tuesday night's Section III Class C final at West Genesee High School.
Yet when the final horn sounded, it was the Lakers forced to accept a painful 9-8 defeat as its quest to dethrone the defending state champions fell literally inches short.
Despite getting the tempo it wanted, despite having a two-goal lead in the second half, and despite an ocean of opportunities to get even in the final minutes, Skaneateles could not send the tense contest to overtime, the outcome in doubt until Emma Ford was stripped of the ball on a charge to net as time ran out.
"We certainly had our opportunities," said Lakers head coach Bridget Marquardt.
Just in the last two minutes, Shelby McNeilly, an all-around force throughout the game, had a shot stopped by CBA goalie Courtney Henderson. Also, Nicole Beatson's possible tying shot flew wide, and most frustrating, a point-blank look from Carly Davis with 35 seconds left clanged off the right post.
So it ended just like it did in 2011, the Lakers denied a sectional title by CBA. But it was a far cry from the 17-6 drubbing the Brothers gave Skaneateles in the regular-season finale just 13 days earlier.
"That last game (with CBA) was not an indicator of our team," said Marquardt. "We are so much better (than how we played there)."
After a 75-minute delay waiting out afternoon thunderstorms, the rain stopped just as the game got underway. Both sides were uneven on the offensive end in the early going, managing just one goal apiece in the first 10:56 as McNeilly put the Lakers on the board.
Late in the first half, though, it appeared that CBA was getting away again, as it moved in front 6-2. But the Lakers got a much-needed spark when Ford converted 44 seconds before halftime, and the margin was 6-3 at the break.