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SKANEATELES — Skaneateles set the tone with a dominant first half.

The Lakers built up a nine-goal lead by halftime and then recorded the first six goals of the second half, as the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team — ranked No. 3 in Class D by the NYSSWA — routed No. 5 Marcellus 17-6 at Skaneateles High School Friday.

Lakers coach Bridget Marquardt hopes her team is peaking as it heads into the postseason next week.

"We're trying to get everyone healthy and ready for sectionals," Marquardt said. "We've got another tough game on Tuesday against (Fayetteville-Manlius), but that doesn't mean anything because we're not going to see them — it's just a tough game.

"I think what it states is we have confidence and when we play together and possess the ball, we can do good things. We have to keep doing that and keep moving forward."

Maggie Newton registered five goals, while Riley Brogan and Grace Dower each had four goals and two assists. Olivia Navaroli recorded three goals and four assists, and Gaby Welch rounded out the scoring with one goal.

Ioanna Christou made three saves before being pulled for backup Meg Buff with 6:33 left to play.

For Marquardt, one of the top reasons for the win was her team's success at the draw. Navaroli took the lion's share of reps in the circle.

"The keys tonight were possession and the draw, as well as team defense," Marquardt said. "(Olivia) Navaroli, (Olivia) Dobrovosky and Riley Brogan in the draw circle dominated and we had the ball. That's a great team. They have a tremendous amount of speed. We knew that if we kept possession of the ball and limited their chances, we could win. We made some mistakes, but we stuck to our game plan and really possessed the ball most of the game. I thought that was the difference."

Skaneateles and Marcellus traded goals in the first four minutes, but the Lakers went on a seven-goal run and led 11-2 by halftime. The Lakers rattled off the next six goals to get the clock running, and although the Mustangs scored four times in the final 6:33, Skaneateles was able to cruise to victory.

Marquardt has seen a lot of progress from the Lakers' last game.

"Tonight was a big step from our West Genny game. We had a lot of unforced errors and came out flat. We just didn't possess the ball very well," Marquardt said. "Tonight was a big step in the right direction. As a coach, you always want to get better, so there's plenty to work on."

Skaneateles wraps up the regular season by hosting Fayetteville-Manlius Tuesday. More importantly is the postseason schedule to follow.

The Lakers have never missed the section finals since Marquardt took over the program almost two decades ago.

"I always like being the underdog, so when we drop I'm good about it," Marquardt said. "Rankings and top 10 don't really mean anything. You've got to play. At this point in the season — next week — you play, and if you don't win, you go home. That's what's really driving this team. They don't want to go home. They want to keep playing. Hopefully they'll come back tomorrow and have a hard practice and figure out how to get better for postseason play."

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Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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