Oct 04, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Apparently, the message that the Skaneateles girls soccer team knocked off Marcellus 1-0 on Sept. 23 did not reach those that put the state Class B rankings together.
For when those rankings were released early last week, the 10-1 Lakers occupied the no. 9 spot, which was quite good – except that Marcellus was in the top spot, as if the game with Skaneateles had never taken place.
This, combined with the 5-4 defeat it took to Nardin in the Sept. 28 finals of the Lewiston-Porter Tournament, gave the Lakers ample motivation heading into two more big contests this week at Hyatt Stadium – but it would win neither of those games, causing some real concern as the regular-season homestretch looms.
In the first of them last Tuesday night, Skaneateles hosted another long-time nemesis, Westhill, but could not match the Marcellus magic, only getting a 0-0 draw with the Warriors.
So much of it was due to Westhill’s defense. Every time the Lakers attacked, a defender tailed Tate Green, Catie Woodruff and the rest of the front line, rarely allowing for open looks.
And when the shots were taken, Westhill’s marvelous senior goalkeeper, Sam Peebles, was able to scoop them up, finishing with seven saves by game’s end.
Yet all through the 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, the Lakers’ defense held firm, too. Lauren Goodchild, Taylor Woodruff, Melissa Amory, Kyla Sears, Elizabeth Lane and Tori Field took away most of the Warriors’ lanes, and freshman Sophie Kush continue to dazzle, stopping all eight direct shots she faced.
Remarkably, it marked the third straight time Skaneateles and Westhill had gone 0-0, having done so in 2012 both in the regular season and the Section III Class B quarterfinals, where the Warriors eventually prevailed in penalty kicks.
The draw was frustrating, but it sure beat defeat, and Skaneateles would look to bounce back on Thursday afternoon when it hosted another tough opponent, 7-2 Cazenovia, whom it beat 2-1 in the season opener back on Aug. 30.
Instead of a confidence-boosting victory, though, Skaneateles got a jolt early in the second half from which it could not fully recover, falling to Cazenovia by that same 2-1 margin.
From that first meeting, Cazenovia’s defense had learned how to deal with the quick Skaneateles attackers. Utilizing six different back-line players, it blocked every attack lane, and when the ball got close, they quickly passed to teammates, rather than just randomly kick the ball away.
Through a scoreless first half, that pattern remained the same. Then the Skaneateles defense committed a costly turnover and, 2:27 into the second half, Audrey Burbidge launched a perfect 25-yard shot that flew past Kush into the top left corner of the net.
Before Skaneateles could recover, Burbidge broke open again three minutes later, and taking a nice pass from Hannah Rousell, beat the defenders and converted again, and the host Lakers found itself in a 2-0 hole.
Forced to pick up the tempo, Skaneateles ran into that same defensive quicksand that Cazenovia had put together, which nearly led to a shutout.
Despite this, with 4:05 left, Molly Wood flicked home Catie Woodruff’s cross, cutting the margin to one, and Skaneateles made an all-out push in the remaining minutes, but was unable to catch up.
The only good part for Skaneateles (10-2-1) is that its remaining regular-season schedule is not daunting, as it hosts Altmar-Parish-Williamstown on Tuesday before finishing with trips to Hannibal on Thursday and Jordan-Elbridge on Oct. 17, so there’s ample time to practice, recuperate and work on all phases of the game before the start of the sectional tournament.