CORTLAND — The Lakers rushed out to a five-goal lead, but the tide turned.
Section I champion Bronxville went on a seven-goal run near the end of the first half and netted the first four goals of the second to top Section III champion Skaneateles 15-11 in the NYSPHSAA Class D girls lacrosse semifinals at SUNY Cortland Friday.
Knowing how well her team played — especially early — made the loss tougher for Lakers coach Bridget Marquardt.
"I've been here a long time and this one is going to hurt for a while," Marquardt said.
Riley Brogan paced Skaneateles with five goals and three assists. Grace Dower added three goals and one assist, Maggie Newton scored twice, and Olivia Navaroli finished with one goal and two assists.
Ioanna Christou made a couple key saves early and finished with seven saves.
Senior defender Olivia Dobrovosky earned the game's award for sportsmanship, while fellow senior Navaroli was named to the all-tournament team.
"We had a special group this year and every year is different," said Marquardt, who has led her team to at least the semifinals four of the last five years. "I tell the girls 'We'll be back' but we won't with those seniors. It'll be a new year. It was there and we had it. When you get the taste of it, it's there and you're up, to lose that lead makes it harder than if we were blown out in the first half. This is going to hurt for a while."
Newton and Brogan each scored twice early and Dower tacked on a goal to give the Lakers a 5-0 lead before the eight minute mark. Skaneateles and Bronxville traded goals, but the Broncos rattled off seven goals in the final 8:55 of the frame to take the lead.
Navaroli scored off a free position shot with 2.2 seconds left to knot the game at 9-9 heading into halftime.
"I just said it was 0-0, a tie game ... and that lacrosse is a game of runs and we need to win the first five minutes of the second half," Marquardt said. "We like to take it by minutes and we like to say we need to win the first five minutes. ... We made some adjustments, but in the end we couldn't get the ball."
The Broncos scored four times in the first four minutes of the second to take a 13-9 lead, and although Skaneateles had a pair of goals midway through the frame, Bronxville scored with 5:06 left and was able to run out the clock.
One of the Broncos' keys was at the draw. With Fiona Jones leading the way, Bronxville went 20-for-28 in the circle.
"We saw she could get it where she wanted, but it was really the ground ball. (Caroline Ircha) was so fast and beat us to the ball every single time whether we were on the outside or inside," Marquardt said. "She's got a great, great first step and got a ton of ground balls.
"When we had possession we scored, but in the second half we didn't have possession. It's hard without the shot clock to get the ball back."
The Lakers knew what to expect after watching game film. Navaroli started on the draw, was replaced by Dobrovosky and eventually freshman Elizabeth Wamp got a turn for Skaneateles.
"We knew this draw player was really good, so we practiced three different draw players, six different draws and scenarios," Marquardt said. "We were well aware of what they were going to do."
After the game, Marquardt had a simple message for her team.
"I wanted them to leave it all on the field and they did that. They've been doing it all year long," Marquardt said. "We've got a lot of players coming back, so hopefully we'll take this, learn from it and be back next year."