continued After Spartans forward Pearce Parsons hit an easy grounder to Skaneateles goalkeeper Erik Pola in the third minute, South Jefferson never came close to a goal.
Strods, a senior forward, missed on a couple of 20-yard attempts midway through the first half, and a Higman volley fell short in the 34th minute. Beese held his line well, making a pair of elevated grabs to keep the Lakers off the scoreboard.
“The intensity needed to be picked up,” Atwater said. “We didn’t have intensity in the first half.”
If the Lakers controlled the first half, they dominated the second. South Jefferson failed to crack the Skaneateles 18-yard area and the Lakers showered Beese with an abundance of shots.
Spartans senior center back Zach Lanzar cleared a number of these attempts as the South Jefferson defense did well to turn the Lakers attack away for as long as it did. But without offensive players in position to make plays on those clears, Skaneateles passed the ball right back into the fray.
“We were crashing the net and were much more aggressive in the second half,” Atwater said. “We started getting the ball wide, started attacking, started getting some shots on net.”
Amory finally provided the Lakers with a reprieve, finding the back of the net and sending Skaneateles into the semifinals.
Now the Lakers are presented with a new challenge. To continue their sectional run, they’ll have to get through a tough Cazenovia squad, which they have yet to put away this season. And if they win there, a potential matchup with undefeated Westhill in the finals would be another tall task.
But Amory has confidence in his teammates, because in what Atwater calls the second season, Skaneateles is 1-0.
“We’re putting this game behind us and moving on to Caz,” Amory said. “We’re looking for the win to make it all the way to sectional champs and then states.”