May 09, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
All of the evidence of why the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team is favored to reclaim the Section III Class C throne was on full display throughout Wednesday night’s 17-9 victory over Marcellus at Hyatt Stadium in a clash with the OHSL Liberty division regular-season title on the line.
From control of the draws to a deep, dangerous and well-balanced attack to a defense that never lets the opposition gain any free space to maneuver, the Lakers had it all working against the Mustangs, especially in a decisive 8-1 run late in the first half that erased an early 3-2 deficit.
And what made it more impressive was the close nature of their previous meeting, on April 15. At Marcellus, the Lakers were pulled into overtime before prevailing, 14-12, just one part of a 12-game win streak built since a season-opening loss to West Genesee.
Now the rivals and neighbors, also next to each other in the state rankings (Skaneateles at no. 6, Marcellus at no. 5), were gathered again, both of them undefeated since that first encounter, and at first it looked like the rematch would be just as close, hard-fought and exciting.
Alex Burrows and Grace Hunt hit on early goals to put Marcellus up 2-0. Kyla Sears and Nicole Beatson answered to forge a 2-2 tie, but Molly McGuane’s goal at the 11:47 mark put the Mustangs back in front.
But everything changed the moment Beatson scored her second goal at the 15:11 mark. That ignited an outburst of four goals in a span of less than 90 seconds from four different players as Hannah Powers, Emma Ford and Kyla Sears all followed up Beatson’s tally to give Skaneateles a lead it would not relinquish.
At the heart of the surge was what happened in the draw circle. Lakers head coach Bridget Marquardt said that at least six of her players can handle draws, but after Alana Navaroli performed those duties in the last two games, freshman Hannah Logan got some chances here.
Logan flourished, constantly getting the ball to her teammates, igniting attacks that led to those crucial goals late in the first half as Powers and Sears both notched three-goal hat tricks by the time they reached the break.
“The draws were big,” said Marquardt. “We knew that they (Marcellus) could score, so possession was the key.”
To handle the Mustangs’ attack, Skaneateles again put together a first-rate defensive effort. Intense man-to-man pressure from the likes of Tate Green, Catie Woodruff, Rachel Hurley and Alex Welch made Marcellus’ potent trio of McGuane, Grace Nolan and Grace Hunt work hard for their chances, and most of their conversions would come after the Lakers put it out of reach.
Marquardt said her team’s defense has improved since that first Marcellus game. “It’s so important to play team defense, and we did that tonight,” she said.
Leading 10-4 at the half, the Lakers never let the Mustangs get closer the rest of the way. Powers, with four goals and two assists, led the attack, while Beatson, Navaroli, Molly Wood and Casey VanSlyke each scored twice and Logan would tack on a second-half goal.