SYRACUSE 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.