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Skaneateles girls tie Westhill, fall to Cazenovia

Struggles follow Lakers' rise to no. 9 in state rankings

— 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.

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