continued With the intensity ratcheted up, eighth-grader Kyla Sears got the Skaneateles crowd going when she chased Marcellus goalie Renee Poullott near her net, stripped the ball away and scored to put her side back in front 3-2. But Poullott made a point-blank stop seconds later, and Molly McGuane's free-position goal tied it again, 3-3, near the mid-point of the first half.
Skaneateles had most of the chances in the half, taking 17 shots to the Mustangs' seven. But Poullott, with some tough saves and aggressive moves to clear the ball out of play, kept her team close through most of the half, aided by a stingy Marcellus defense vastly improved from the unit torched by the Lakers in that 16-8 loss earlier in the month.
Not until Hannah Powers and Nicole Beatson scored 12 seconds apart late in the half did the Lakers restore that early two-goal margin, but Grace Nolan had a prompt answer in the final minute, and only a shot by Burrows off the pipe kept Marcellus from tying it as Skaneateles clung to a 6-5 lead at the break.
Navaroli, angry because of the earlier stick incicent, set out to give her team permanent control. "It lit a fire under us," she said.
Winning the opening draw of the second half, Navaroli needed just 17 seconds to score and double the Lakers' lead to two, 7-5. Then she added another goal five minutes later, and won the ensuing draw, leading to Sears' second goal and a 9-5 margin.
"Alana certainly stepped up tonight," said Marquardt.
Just as important was the work of the Lakers' defense. Welch, Rachel Hurley, Catie Woodruff, Tate Green and Elizabeth Lane clamped down throughout the second half, and goalie Mallorie Olin made several point-blank stops after some early struggles. Welch said her team was more aggressive in meeting the Mustangs' slides, which led to stops.
This allowed Skaneateles to be more patient on the attack, as Navaroli tacked on a third goal. Molly Wood and Nicole Beatson also converted in the second half as the Lakers secured yet another championship.
On Saturday at 5 p.m., Skaneateles will face Massena (Section X) in the Class C regional final at West Genesee High School, needing one more win to advance to next weekend's state final four at SUNY-Cortland.
"It's so exciting," said Navaroli. "We hope we can keep moving forward."