SKANEATELES — Skaneateles certainly wasn't going to underestimate LaFayette.
The Lakers scored six goals before the Lancers could find an answer and cruised to the win, as No. 3 Skaneateles beat No. 6 LaFayette 15-8 in the Section III, Class D girls lacrosse quarterfinals at Skaneateles High School Tuesday.
The Lakers edged the Lancers in their regular season meeting, 16-15, a little more than two weeks ago. Skaneateles coach Bridget Marquardt said her team used that close call as motivation.
"That was almost a loss, and that was a good thing for us because it kind of turned us around," Marquardt said. "They're a really good team and I think we took them for granted. They've got some awesome players and Rick (Storrier) is a great coach. I think going into that first game, the girls took them a little too lightly, and that wasn't the case in the first half."
Skaneateles advances to play No. 2 Westhill in the semifinals Thursday at Christian Brothers Academy.
Six Lakers recorded multiple points Tuesday, with Skaneateles' two top scorers leading the way. Grace Dower registered three goals and five assists, while Riley Brogan tallied a pair of goals and assists.
Olivia Navaroli (three assists) and Abbey Logan (one assist) each netted hat tricks, while Maggie Newton and Gaby Welch each scored twice. Ryley Pas'cal finished with four saves in goal.
For Marquardt, a balanced offense is essential in sectionals when teams are more likely to try and clamp down on Dower and Brogan.
"Going into postseason play, everyone knows our team and knows who has the points, so we expect them to be faceguarded or doubled early and they'll slide early to her," Marquardt said. "We've been practicing the last couple weeks — keeping it hot, letting everyone touch it. Everyone should be able to score. Riley and Dower get the best defenders on them from the other team, so 'head up and pass the ball.' We've worked really hard, and we commend the team because they did it and executed it perfectly tonight in the first half."
Navaroli opened the scoring just a few seconds into the contest and the Lakers rattled off the next five goals over the next 21 minutes. LaFayette finally got on the board with 3:20 left in the first half, but Skaneateles scored four times in the final 1:23 to take a 10-1 lead into halftime.
"The defense was outstanding in the first half," Marquardt said. "Their top players, one has something like 83 points, another has 60-some-odd points and another has 70-something points. So one point in that first half was awesome. Unfortunately, in the second half they came out hard and we came out flat and a little tight."
The Lakers took a 10-goal lead to get the clock running eight minutes into the second half, but the Lancers made sure it didn't stay that way for long. Skaneateles was able to extend its lead to 15-4 with 8:12 remaining, but LaFayette scored the only four goals in the final 6:20 to make it closer on the scoreboard.
The Lakers, who won the state Class D title last season, have dealt with quite a bit of player turnover over the last couple seasons. Although Skaneateles has made five straight trips to the state final four, Marquardt doesn't think her program's postseason experience gives them an edge because of how young most of her athletes are.
"At this point, they know we're 1-0. We were 0-0 to start the game and now we're 1-0," Marquardt said. "I don't think that helps us right now, and with the parity of the teams in Class D in Section III, I think they're some of the strongest teams. South Jeff, Marcellus, Westhill. I think we're ranked below all of them. Any team that we face is going to be a tough game, and we just have to play our game and be ready for whoever that may be."