SKANEATELES — The Lakers nearly let a chance at a sweep slip away.
A necessary timeout and well-timed recovery prevented that from being the case.
Skaneateles volleyball defeated Syracuse Academy of Science 3-0 Thursday at Skaneateles High School, taking the first two sets with relative ease before coming back to win the third and complete the match.
The Lakers claimed the first game 25-14, leading throughout. In the second, Skaneateles trailed 10-8 but outscored the Atoms 17-3 down the stretch to take the second game 25-13.
In the third, with Skaneateles having emptied the bench, the Lakers were down 16-11 when coach Dan Mulroy called a timeout to regroup. That game ended in a 25-20 win, capped off on an ace from Emma Keady.
"It was a lot of unforced errors. We actually missed a lot of serves, hitting the ball out or hitting it short. I called that timeout and told them we just have to put the ball in play," Mulroy said. "I know they're all capable of doing it, and they did. Proud of the way they came back and went on a long serves run."
Maeve Canty (seven aces, one assist, three digs) and Jessica Patalino (four aces, one dig) co-led the team in kills with five each. Lily Delasin had a team-high 11 assists to pair with four aces, two kills and three digs. Lily Simmons led the team with four digs and added two aces.
Skaneateles had a clear talent advantage from the get-go, though it became a challenge throughout the match to remain focused on the task at hand.
"Sometimes it's hard to keep focus and keep the energy up when the gym is quiet and the girls are quiet," Mulroy said. "That's why it was nice to see, especially at the end after that timeout, the girls on the bench really picked up their cheering and energy. It shows on the court."
The victory brings the Lakers' record to 6-2 on the season. Now in Class C, Skaneateles has had to adjust to plenty of new opponents and a new league. So far, so good.
"So far we've had a really great year. We've played really well with a tough schedule up to this point," Mulroy said. "Hopefully we can keep it rolling. We had a tournament in Marcellus last Saturday where we played really well and had a tough, close match against (Cicero-North Syracuse) where we got eliminated. Had a really good day that day though."
Of those eight matches, seven have been on Skaneateles' home court. The Lakers' challenge in the coming weeks will be continuing their strong play on the road. Their next three matches — at Homer, at Hannibal and at Hamilton — are all away.
In Skaneateles' only road game of the season so far, the Lakers slipped by LaFayette 3-2.
"I want to be able to see them handle the adversity of being on the road on long trips," Mulroy said. "We're going out to Hannibal, out to Hamilton, APW. ...We have some pretty long trips and it's easy to lose focus on the road. Those environments are different than the friendly confines of being home."
The Lakers' match-up at Homer is slated for Tuesday.