Eighteen minutes of game time was all it took to spoil the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team's dreams of a third state Class C championship in the program's history.
In that span of the first half, the Lakers' early three-goal lead on Mount Sinai in Saturday's state Class C final at SUNY-Cortland vanished, and the Mustangs went on to control the rest of the game, too, and prevail by a score of 15-6.
From an early 3-0 deficit, Mount Sinai used those crucial 18 minutes to score nine unanswered goals, a streak that Skaneateles head coach Bridget Marquardt said came directly from the Mustangs dominating in the draw circle.
"We just couldn't get the draws for a long time," she said. "And from there, we started playing nervous and lost our focus."
Skaneateles, whose pair of state titles came in 2004 and '05, carried one possible advantage into the final, in that it had cruised through its state semifinal against Putnam Valley 16-6, while Mount Sinai had to go into overtime to fight off Honeoye Falls-Lima 8-7 in the other semifinal.
But what the Mustangs had going for it was the bitter taste of experience. Many of these same Mount Sinai players were at Cortland in 2011, when it led late in the state title game against CBA, only to take a 9-8 defeat when the Brothers rallied in the closing minutes.
Certainly the Lakers had the better start. Molly Wood's goal 4:12 into the game launched an early Skaneateles run that included eighth-grader Kyla Sears' 40th goal of the season and a tally from Hannah Powers, all in a span of less than two minutes.
The Mustangs, trailing 3-0, took a time-out, and quickly regrouped, getting back-to-back goals from Sydney Pirecca and Danielle Dellarocca before Caroline Fitzgerald converted to tie it, 3-3, at the 13:40 mark.