Jun 08, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Eighteen minutes of game time was all it took to spoil the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team’s dreams of a third state Class C championship in the program’s history.
In that span of the first half, the Lakers’ early three-goal lead on Mount Sinai in Saturday’s state Class C final at SUNY-Cortland vanished, and the Mustangs went on to control the rest of the game, too, and prevail by a score of 15-6.
From an early 3-0 deficit, Mount Sinai used those crucial 18 minutes to score nine unanswered goals, a streak that Skaneateles head coach Bridget Marquardt said came directly from the Mustangs dominating in the draw circle.
“We just couldn’t get the draws for a long time,” she said. “And from there, we started playing nervous and lost our focus.”
Skaneateles, whose pair of state titles came in 2004 and ’05, carried one possible advantage into the final, in that it had cruised through its state semifinal against Putnam Valley 16-6, while Mount Sinai had to go into overtime to fight off Honeoye Falls-Lima 8-7 in the other semifinal.
But what the Mustangs had going for it was the bitter taste of experience. Many of these same Mount Sinai players were at Cortland in 2011, when it led late in the state title game against CBA, only to take a 9-8 defeat when the Brothers rallied in the closing minutes.
Certainly the Lakers had the better start. Molly Wood’s goal 4:12 into the game launched an early Skaneateles run that included eighth-grader Kyla Sears’ 40th goal of the season and a tally from Hannah Powers, all in a span of less than two minutes.
The Mustangs, trailing 3-0, took a time-out, and quickly regrouped, getting back-to-back goals from Sydney Pirecca and Danielle Dellarocca before Caroline Fitzgerald converted to tie it, 3-3, at the 13:40 mark.
A minute later, Pirreca’s second goal gave Mount Sinai a 4-3 lead, and it kept on going, Fitzgerald and Dellarocca both contributing their second goals to put the Lakers behind 6-3 late in the half and force Marquardt to use a time-out.
But the Mustangs kept on charging. Shayna Pirreca converted twice late in the half, with Fitzgerald converting on her third goal in between, and the shell-shocked Lakers went into the break having seen a three-goal lead turn into a 9-3 deficit.
Even the long halftime rest didn’t stop Mount Sinai’s momentum, as Shayna Pirreca made it 10-3 nearly five minutes into the second half. All told, the Lakers’ drought covered nearly 25 minutes before Wood scored with 18:56 to play.
By then, though, the Mustangs were well on its way to its first-ever state championship, extending the lead to double digits with two more goals from Shayna Perreca, which gave her four for the day, plus another goal from Sydney Perreca (her fourth) and Dellarocca.
Battling to the end, the Lakers saw Wood (who joined Emma Ford and Hannah Powers on the All-Tournament team) and Casey VanSlyke put in late goals, all part of a vast learning experience for a team that graduates just six seniors, though it includes standouts like Emma Ford, Rachel Hurley and Alex Welch.
“We played hard to the end,” said Marquardt. “We never gave up. We had a spectacular year and I’m very proud of my players. A lot of people didn’t think we would get here.”
The large group of 2014 returnees will have the same motivation that Mount Sinai had this time around – namely, to get the ending right.
To that end, said Marquardt, she told her returning players to pay attention to the post-game ceremony, to see the Mount Sinai players receive their individual medals and the championship trophy, and get hungry to win it all next spring after seeing someone else take the title.