Oct 25, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Back in 2012, the Skaneateles girls soccer team saw its season end in a tough, hard-fought and heartbreaking defeat to Westhill in penalty kicks, the Section III Class B quarterfinals.
Exactly one year later, in the same round, against the same opponent, the Lakers met that same sad ending, this time in a 1-0 game decided late in regulation in a manner that neither side would soon forget.
Not only had these two sides played 0-0 in last year’s sectional tournament, they had also played to a scoreless deadlock in their lone regular-season encounter this fall, on Oct. 1.
And both had made it through the opening round of the sectional playoffs without much trouble. Skaneateles, the no. 4 seed, rode Catie Woodruff’s hat trick to a 3-1 victory over no. 13 seed Frankfort-Schuyler, while Westhill, the no. 5 seed, rolled past no. 12 seed Holland Patent 6-1 as five different players scored goals.
No one was getting multiple goals on this night, though. A cold wind, sustained at 20 miles per hours and gusting to 30, blew across the Hyatt Stadium turf, aiding the defenses and making it difficult for both offenses to get any sort of ball control.
Chances were sparse in the first half, but both teams had clear looks at go-ahead goals. In the 15th minute, Woodruff dribbled her way past Westhill goalie Sam Peebles and had a wide-open look, only to drill the ball over the net.
Later in the half, the Warriors’ Tatiana Monds got open in front of the Skaneateles net, but Lakers keeper Sophie Kush managed a terrific save, and the two sides went to the break still 0-0.
The game turned physical early in the second half, as Westhill’s Megan O’Reilly and Skanetaeles’ Elizabeth Lane both left the game with injuries. Scoring chances increased, but again they were missed, and the specter of another overtime marathon loomed.
Then, with 15:42 to play, Erin McMullen, a freshman call-up from the JV ranks who scored a goal in the first round against Holland Patent, hit what looked to be a harmless cross from the left corner that Kush waited for at the near post. But Kush could not hold on to the ball, and it rolled behind her into the net.
That single goal would hold up the rest of the way. Waging an all-out attack in the closing minutes, the Lakers forced Peebles to make a series of clutch stops, giving her nine saves for the night.
In the opening round, despite Frankfort-Schuyler’s 4-10-2 record going into the sectional tournament, the Maroon Knights proved far from an easy mark for the Lakers, the margin only 1-0 at halftime due to Woodruff’s first goal of the night.
As it turned out, Woodruff was just getting started. She gave Skaneateles a cushion early in the second half with her second goal, and then completed a hat trick to make it 3-0 before Marsala Bono scored late for the Maroon Knights.
Tate Green assisted on two of Woodruff’s goals, with Kyla Sears also picking up an assist. And the Lakers’ pressure was relentless, forcing Frankfort-Schuyler goalie Cassandra Grippe to make 20 saves to keep it interesting.
But Westhill ended the Lakers’ championship dreams, advancing to face top seed Clinton in the Class B semifinals, while Skaneateles faced the end of a 14-3-1 season highlighted by a late-September 1-0 victory over then-unbeaten Marcellus.
Though seniors like Molly Wood, Nicole Beatson and Taylor Woodruff depart, the Lakers have plenty of talent back from 2014, including Kush, Lane, Green, Sears, Catie Woodruff, Lauren Goodchild, Melissa Amory and Raenah Campbell.