Jun 06, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Now the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team finds itself in the exact same place where, 12 months ago, it saw a state Class C championship dream fall short.
Intent on not letting that happen again, the Lakers earned its second chance on Friday afternoon at SUNY-Cortland by pulling away in the second half to beat Section V champion Honeoye Falls-Lima 16-6.
Unlike 2013, though, Skaneateles won’t be facing Mount Sinai. Instead, the Long Island-based foe in Saturday’s state title game is Cold Spring Harbor (Section VIII), who ripped past Bronxville 16-4 in the other state semifinal. Game time is at noon.
Alana Navaroli, one of four Lakers to score three goals against HF-L (Nicole Beatson, Kyla Sears and Molly Wood were the others), said the key to winning this state championship game is based on both skill and desire.
“We have to fight to the end, and tell the other team that we want it more,” she said.
For fellow senior Nicole Beatson, who scored all three of her goals in the second half to help pull away from HF-L, it’s about starting fast, especially since a poor early stretch proved so costly against Mount Sinai a year ago.
“We’ve got to have a strong first half,” she said.
All of this was set up by what took place against HF-L – and at the outset, it had all the markings of another Skaneateles romp.
Within the game’s first three minutes, Wood had charged twice into the Cougars’ end and had put home goals, with Sears putting home a rebound of her own shot in between.
Trailing 3-0, HF-L took a time-out. From there, two things happened – the Cougars’ defense improved in its ability to read the Lakers’ attacking tendencies, and that led to Skaneateles having to slow down the tempo and turning the ball over.
“We were forcing passes inside,” said Lakers head coach Bridget Marquardt. “Also, we were tentative and throwing the ball away.”
Thus, instead of a rout, the Lakers could only manage another goal from Sears, plus one from Casey VanSlyke, the rest of the half.
Meanwhile, HF-L, after some early stops by the Laker defense, got goals from Taylor Reed and Caitlin Muir, and only trailed by a modest 5-2 margin going to the break. That it wasn’t closer was a tribute to the work of defenders Catie Woodruff, Tate Green, Bella Falcone and Elizabeth Lane, who kept the Cougars from getting too many chances, and goalie Mallorie Olin, who would finish with seven saves.
“I was proud of the defense,” said Marquardt. “We had some phenonemal stops.”
In some ways, this resembled the Section III Class C final against South Jefferson May 27 at the Carrier Dome, where Skaneateles struggled with Watertown before a stern halftime talk from Marquardt led to a second-half blitz and a comfortable 17-6 victory.
Here, the getaway was not as immediate. Sparked by a point-blank stop from Mallorie Olin in the early stages, the Lakers attacked again, and Navaroli hit on back-to-back goals to make it 7-2 before Hannah Powers’ goal extended the lead to 8-2 and caused HF-L to use its other time-out.
Again, the Cougars regrouped, cutting the gap to 8-4 on goals from Muir and Brittany Chamberlain, but after a Skaneateles time-out Wood delivered her third goal and Beatson connected on back-to-back goals, using the same deft move from the left side and low shot that Cougars goalie Sarah Benware had no chance of stopping.
And it didn’t stop there. By the time Navaroli connected on her third goal with 10:20 left, it was 14-4, and the game was on a running clock. Marquardt said that once her forwards spread out and took on HF-L’s defenders one-on-one, “we started to relax and pull away.”
Still, the state final against Cold Spring Harbor looms. Marquardt said the biggest challenge, aside from a high-quality opponent, was to play on back-to-back days for the first time all season, so her players would get ample rest before preparing for their chance at redemption.