Oct 31, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
What was, already, a pretty good post-season run by the Skaneateles boys soccer team has turned downright memorable – and now, it could turn extraordinary.
By toppling archrival Marcellus 2-0 in Wednesday night’s Section III Class B semifinal at Liverpool High School Stadium, the Lakers provided quite an impressive follow-up to its 2-1 win over no. 2 seed Clinton in the quarterfinals on Oct. 26.
Just 9-7 going into the sectional tournament the Lakers have saved its best soccer for the end of the season. And the satisfying win over Marcellus gives Skaneateles a chance at the big prize against the toughest obstacle of all, top seed and defending champion Westhill, in the Class B championship game Tuesday night at 5 p.m., also at LHS Stadium.
Even as the Lakers were ousting Clinton, it wasn’t catching a break in the sectional bracket, even though Marcellus knocked off no. 3 seed Cazenovia 1-0 in its Class B quarterfinal on Geoff Golick’s goal less than a minute into overtime.
That was because, in two regular-season meetings, Skaneateles had lost to Marcellus – 1-0 at Hyatt Stadium on Sept. 19, and then 2-1 on the Mustangs’ home turf on Oct. 15.
Barely two weeks after that second encounter, the Lakers ran into Marcellus again, but did so with far more confidence and momentum thanks to its strong playoff run. Also, two games of close-up experience with Marcellus gave Skaneateles plenty of knowledge as to how it planned to attack.
The Lakers’ defense, which has turned into a clear strength, kept Marcellus at bay throughout a 0-0 first half. For the most part, it flicked away chances before they got to goalkeeper Billy Patrick, but Patrick still made a big stop on Golick’s point-blank attempt late in the half to preserve the deadlock.
When the second half started, the Lakers kept probing, as it had done in the early going. The difference was that Jack Bailey would break through.
Bailey, who had scored a goal in the quarterfinal win over Clinton, beat Ian LaFever for the go-ahead goal off a feed from Sam Clymer, who had the other goal against Clinton.
Not content with that 1-0 edge, Skaneateles kept forcing the issue. Five minutes after that first goal, a foul inside the 18-yard box gave the Lakers a penalty kick that Bailey converted for the insurance goal.
The defense, led by senior Jamie Roney, junior Nick Palmer, and sophomores Sam Duggan and Shawn Palmer, did the rest, Patrick only having to make two saves as Skaneateles prevailed and looked ahead to another chance at payback.
Westhill, the top seed, has rolled past General Brown (4-1) and Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (4-0) in its pair of post-season game, but didn’t blow out Skaneateles in either of their regular-season meetings in September, prevailing by equal 2-1 margins. As with Marcellus, the Lakers have a chance to win when it matters the most.