Jun 07, 2014 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Molly Wood was kept in check all game long, but broke through when it mattered the most – and delivered the shot that gave the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team its third state Class C championship in program history.
Wood’s goal with just two seconds to play in regulation, achieved off a mad scramble in front of the net, gave the Lakers an 12-11 victory over Cold Spring Harbor in Saturday’s state final at SUNY-Cortland.
“I can’t describe it, the emotions are so high,” said Wood.
Having held the ball for the last five minutes of regulation in a 10-10 tie, the Lakers finally moved toward the net as time wound down. Fittingly, three seniors who went through the heartache of Skaneateles losing the state final to Mount Sinai 12 months ago were involved.
Alana Navaroli got the first shot, but a Seahawks defender blocked it. Picking up the loose ball, Casey VanSlyke crashed a shot off the post, and several players from both teams congregated in front of Cold Spring Harbor goalie Haley Crosson.
At the edge of the group, Wood, who had not scored a goal after earning a hat trick in the Lakers’ 16-6 state semifinal win over Honeoye Falls-Lima the day before, sprang into action.
“You can’t practice these situations,” said Wood. “It (the ball) landed right at my feet. I didn’t look at the ball, I just threw it.”
The throw proved accurate, finding the net and giving the Lakers its first state championship since 2006.
“Every state title is special,” said Skaneateles head coach Bridget Marquardt. “It’s been a lot of sacrifice for these girls. Hard work finally pays off.”
If the Lakers showed any nerves about playing for the state title, it wasn’t showing in pre-game warm-ups, where defender Bella Falcone showed off some dance moves while encouraged by her teammates.
Then Falcone and the rest of the Lakers’ defenders – Catie Woodruff, Tate Green and Elizabeth Lane – focused their energies on a potent CSH attack that had romped past Bronxville 16-4 in its state semifinal..
Helping in the effort was the Lakers’ quick start, as Navaroli, Kyla Sears and Hannah Powers scored in the game’s first nine minutes to produce a 3-1 lead. It didn’t last, though, as the Seahawks answered with three straight goals to go in front, 4-3.
After Navaroli tied it, 4-4, CSH struck with back-to-back goals from Holly Logan and Lindsey Willcocks off free-position shots, reclaiming the lead. Casey VanSlyke cut into that deficit with a goal 1:11 before halftime, but got thwarted on a free position in the Lakers’ ensuing possession.
The Seahawks picked it up and worked down the field until Ashley Lynch beat Mallorie Olin with a bounce shot with just seven seconds left in the half. So now the Lakers, trailing 7-5, was facing a situation it rarely had dealt with this spring – a deficit, knowing that it would have to respond.
Marquardt said she needed her team to “get angry”, and it did.
Trailing 8-5 early in the second half, a crucial sequence turned it around. Olin made a point-blank stop and, seconds later, Powers found the net. That was just the opening act as Powers, eventually named the tournament MVP, added two more goals in the next three minutes, tying it at 8-8 with 17:15 to play.
An exchange of goals followed, with Powers adding two more to her total, including the goal with 8:37 left that tied it again, 11-11. But it was apparent to Marquardt that, if it wanted to win, it had to regain possession and keep it – for a long time, if necessary.
“We weren’t getting the draws or the ground balls,” said Marquardt. “We were breaking down a little bit, and I wanted to have the last shot.”
As it turned out, Wood gave the Lakers the last – and most important- shot.
“This is the best group of girls I’ve ever played with,” said Powers. “That makes it more special. We felt what it was like to lose (a year ago), and we didn’t want to feel that way again.”