Tension and emotion built up throughout Thursday night’s Section III Class B girls soccer opening-round game at Hyatt Stadium.
No. 8 seed Skaneateles and no. 9 seed Cazenovia dueled it out to see which Lakers side would get an opportunity to challenge top seed and defending champion Westhill, a side neither of them had beaten during the regular season.
And with the two sides seemingly headed for extra soccer, Cazenovia made the play it needed, and suddenly Skaneateles found itself on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat and its earliest sectional exit since 2014.
These teams had met just once in the regular season, on Sept. 14. On this same home turf, Skaneateles had pulled it out by that same 2-1 margin with first-half goals from Tess Peterson and Ryley Pas’cal negating one from Kirsten Underwood.
Just as important, though, Skaneateles held an upper hand in the Laker rivalry that stretched back years, so Cazenovia had to overcome not only the opponent in front of them, but a string of recent disappointments.
Much of the first half was quiet, but Skaneateles still got out in front. With 7:47 left in the half, Pas’cal pounced on a Cazenovia turnover, dribbled to the net and lofted a shot past Hannah Matteson into the net.
With the game’s even flow of play, a 1-0 halftime lead was far from safe. Sure enough, six minutes into the second half Allie Vanetti flashed open for Cazenovia and beat Grace Kush for the tying goal.
Skaneateles did enough on the attack to force Cazenovia into a handful of yellow cards, yet could not take advantage, the game staying 1-1 as overtime loomed.
But with 1:23 to play, a small opening in the Skaneateles back line flashed long enough for Underwood to burst through it and slip a shot past Kush, the eventual game-winner.
So the first year of head coach Bob Broddus at Skaneateles ended at 9-6-2, with a handful of seniors departing, including the likes of Maddie Peterson, Grace Hilpl, Brady Iles and Christina Ciaccio, but a solid cast returning for 2018.