What had seemed inevitable for so long – a Section III Class D girls lacrosse championship game between Skaneateles and Marcellus, with the two of them sitting atop the state Class D rankings – did not get realized.
The state no. 2-ranked Lakers did its part, breezing through its first two sectional games. But the top-seeded and state no. 1-ranked Mustangs got tripped up in Thursday’s semifinal at Christian Brothers Academy’s Alibrandi Stadium, unable to overcome a poor start in an 11-9 loss to no. 4 seed South Jefferson as Skaneateles pulled away in the second half to beat no. 3 seed Westhill 16-5.
So instead of Skaneateles against Marcellus, it’s the well-established Lakers trying to turn back the upstart Spartans in Tuesday night’s title game at SUNY-Cortland, the same venue where the state final four takes place on June 9-10.
For the Lakers, the post-season started last Tuesday night, at Hyatt Stadium, against no. 7 seed Cazenovia. Having won this Laker battle 18-8 in early April when Kyla Sears was out, Skaneateles proved even better at full strength in the playoff rematch, winning 20-4 as it dominated the draws and possession time in the first half and built up a 15-0 advantage.
Mae McGlynn led the way, scoring six times and adding an assist. Sears had three goals and two assists, with Olivia Navaroli getting a goal and four assists as Riley Brogan produced two goals and two assists.
Sophie Kush and Maggie Newton also had two-goal outings as Grace Dower got a goal and assist. Abby Kuhns, Hope Allyn and Rachel Pinney contributed goals and Jessica Patalino earned an assist.
Now it was off to CBA for the sectional semifinals, where Skaneateles was an interested spectator as South Jefferson, well-balanced on offense and consistent on the defensive side, sprinted out to an 11-3 lead on Marcellus, the margin proving too much for the Mustangs to overcome, despite a late charge.
Having seen the top seed go down, Skaneateles looked to avoid that same fate against no. 3 seed Westhill, who was trying to avenge a 12-8 defeat from earlier in the season and, for a half, would give the Lakers plenty to worry about.
Slowing down the tempo, and finding some success against the Lakers’ defense, the Warriors led early and were still tied, 3-3, before Sears and Brogan scored 66 seconds apart, hinting at the onslaught ahead.
Westhill cut the deficit to one, 5-4, before halftime, but then watched Skaneateles unload with five goals in the first five minutes of the second half. Ultimately, it amounted to a 9-0 run, Sears leading the way with six goals and one assist as McGlynn finished with four goals and Brogan netted three goals.