May 28, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A normal occasion for the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team in 2014 may involve a stumble or two at the outset, but within minutes a pattern of total domination is established, and the result is a lopsided victory.
South Jefferson tried, in vain, to offer an alternative to this script in Tuesday night’s Section III Class C final at the Carrier Dome, but a tremendous defensive effort, followed by a second-half scoring onslaught, pushed the Lakers past the Spartans 17-6 for its second consecutive sectional championship.
Following a tight, tense first half where the Lakers were nowhere near top form, it scored the first eight goals of the second half, no doubt heeding head coach Bridget Marquart’s message in the locker room during halftime.
“I was mad, and they were mad, too,” said Marquardt. “We weren’t dictating play and sticking to our game plan. That was the gist of it.”
According to senior midfielder Nicole Beatson, Marquardt had a point – they were not focused on the task at hand.
“We were throwing the ball away and not playing with our usual composure,” said Beatson. “Once we did, we kicked butt.”
No one on the Lakers was too alarmed when South Jefferson’s star junior, Morgan Alexander, scored 45 seconds into the game, especially since Kyla Sears answered to put Skaneateles on the board less than 90 seconds later.
Yet it was quickly apparent that the Spartans were not intimidated. Clarissa Perry and Maddie Knapp added goals in those early stages, so despite a tally from Alana Navaroli, the Lakers still trailed, 3-2.
It wasn’t until the middle of the half that Skaneateles went in front, thanks to goals by Molly Wood and Nicole Beatson, but even with Sears’ second goal late in the half, the Lakers found it difficult to operate in the free-flowing manner to which it is accustomed against a tough Spartan defense.
While that was going on, Skaneateles had to work plenty on its half of the field to keep South Jefferson from pulling back even. Defenders Elizabeth Lane, Catie Woodruff, Tate Green and Bella Falcone kept forcing turnovers, and when she needed them, goalie Mallorie Olin made some big point-blank stops.
That amounted to a shutout that covered the last 19 minutes, 22 seconds of the half following Knapp’s goal, and gave the Lakers a chance to stay patient in its attack and wait for a sustained run – which started the moment the second half got underway.
Navaroli won the draw and then scored a minute later, off a feed from Sears. Barely two minutes later, thanks to goals from Powers and Casey VanSlyke, it was 8-3, and the Spartans were forced to use a time-out.
But as soon as the game resumed, so did the Lakers’ scoring binge. Goals by Beatson and Powers made it 10-3, and then VanSlyke and Wood scored goals 10 seconds apart to push the margin to 12-3.
Only after Powers scored for a third time to make it 13-3, creating a running clock, did the Spartans get back on the scoreboard, but Beatson’s third goal, plus back-to-back goals from Molly Newton, restored the double-digit margin.
Seven different players finished with multiple goals, with Powers getting four assists to go with her three-goal hat trick as Wood and Beatson also got three goals. Sears, VanSlyke, Navaroli and Newton had two goals apiece, with VanSlyke contributing a pair of assists.
Navaroli said that anyone who tries to stop one player, like Sears or Powers, will find that her teammates are just as potent.
“All of our attackers and midfielders can score,” she said.
Skaneateles would not relax for long, though, because it has to face Potsdam Thursday in the first round of the Class C state tournament at Liverpool High School Stadium. Wins there, and against Owego (Section IV) in Saturday’s regional final at Ithaca High School, will get the Lakers back to the state final four next weekend at SUNY-Cortland.
Beatson said the game with South Jefferson “was a great learning experience. We have to come out strong, no matter who we’re playing.”
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