Girls lacrosse Lakers regain sectional title from South Jefferson

first_img“Our big thing today was revenge,” said Newton. “This is a sweet victory.”“That (loss to South Jefferson a year ago) left a pit in our stomach,” said senior Olivia Navaroli, who scored four goals, but would make her biggest play of the night far from the net.That it even went down to the final seconds was a tribute to the Spartans’ resilience after Skaneateles, who trailed through most of the early stages, took the lead early in the second half and then extended that margin to 10-7 when Riley Brogan netted her fourth goal with 3:30 left. But as head coach Bridget Marquardt put it, “I was mad that we didn’t stall” while protecting that lead, the Lakers turning the ball over and giving South Jefferson a chance to catch up.Goals by Mia Buckingham with 2:12 left and Cassidy Burnash 36 seconds later trimmed the Skaneateles margin to one, and then, with the Lakers trying to run out the remaining clock, it turned the ball over again.Spartans goalie Paige Crandall, superb in the net all night, threw a long outlet pass over the head of all the Lakers players and found Natalie Strough, who was fouled. On the ensuing free-position shot, Ionna Christou stopped it (her 10th save of the game), but the ball went right back to Strough, who converted the rebound.South Jefferson had tied it, 10-10, but 17.6 seconds remained, enough time for the Lakers to carve out a winning play that will live long in the Skaneateles memory.Olivia Dobrovosky took the draw, and guided it to her right, where Navaroli, who had dominated in the draw circle all season, this time chased down the ground ball.Navaroli passed it to Grace Dower, who had netted three goals on this night. Quick and fearless, the junior attacker sprinted toward the net, drawing the attention of three South Jefferson defenders.But just when those defenders converged, Dower passed it to Newton, who had managed to slip to the front of the net almost unnoticed.“Grace did most of the work,” said Newton. “I was just wide open and had to catch it.”Newton did so, and calmly fired it past Crandall for the biggest goal of her high school career, one that added to the Lakers’ championship legacy and also demonstrated how poise and talent can be quite a combination.Marquardt said she never considered using the Lakers’ remaining time-out once Navaroli got possession, trusting that her players knew what to do.“They were feeling good and playing with confidence,” she said. “I didn’t want to break that up. Everyone stepped up when they had to. We didn’t do that last year.”This just started a memorable week for Skaneateles, who continued to roll Saturday morning when it defeated Salmon River (Section X) 18-3 in the Class D regional final at Fayetteville-Manlius.It was 3-0 in the first three minutes, 8-0 before the game was 10 minutes old and 14-2 by halftime, Dower getting eight assists to go with a pair of goals as Newton and Brogan led with three goals apiece.Navaroli had two goals, as did Ava Logan and Hope Allyn, with single goals going to Gabby Welch, Rory Comer, Makenzie Miller and Kelsey Rutledge.Now it’s back to SUNY-Cortland, where next Friday at 9 a.m. the Lakers face Bronxville (Section I) in the state Class D semifinal. No doubt, Bronxville remembers how Skaneateles beat them 12-11 in double overtime in the state title game two years ago, and will look to get even with a berth in next Saturday’s state final on the line.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Just when the Skaneateles girls lacrosse team was on the brink of throwing away its quest to reclaim the Section III Class D championship from South Jefferson, it regrouped and produced another landmark moment.Maggie Newton’s goal with 2.1 seconds left helped the Lakers edge the Sparatns 11-10 Tuesday night at SUNY-Cortland and earned the program’s sixth sectional title in seven years.What had motivated every single Skaneateles player was the one year, 2018, that didn’t produce a championship, the 12-5 defeat to South Jefferson in the sectional final 12 months ago living long in their memories.center_img Tags: girls lacrosseskaneateleslast_img read more

Smith focuses on improving, regaining starting spot

first_imgJacob Schwoerer/The Badger HeraldThere are typically more than 100 players on a college football team, and they all have two things in common.(1) They all have a craving for playing time.(2) They have five years of eligibility to satisfy it.That means college football teams are rife with competition, and no player’s hold on a starting spot is immune to it.Wisconsin senior cornerback Devin Smith learned that the hard way last season.Starting all 13 games in the 2009-10 season as a sophomore, Smith led the team in passes defended (11) and pass breakups (nine) while finishing fourth in tackles (55). He also snagged two interceptions.Heading into his junior season, many expected Smith to become one of the Big Ten’s top defensive backs. Instead, he lost his starting spot and spent more time on the sidelines than on the field.At this time one year ago, as the football team gathered for its spring and summer camps, Smith fell victim to that competition. Teammates Antonio Fenelus and Niles Brinkley outplayed him for the two starring roles at corner.“I guess there was just good competition all the way around,” he said. “We were just constantly competing, and I started fighting injuries towards the end of summer as well. I just had to take the role I had and just do anything I could to make our team better.”Fenelus and Brinkley proceeded to earn honorable mention All-Big Ten designations, as voted on by the coaches (Fenelus also earned First Team by the media), while Smith was forced to fill in as a nickelback. He appeared in all 13 games, amassing 30 tackles and one interception.According to defensive backs coach and co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash – who now enters his second year at UW – last year’s reduced role humbled Smith but also taught him how to return to the starting lineup.“It’s difficult for anybody to go through that when they’ve been the guy on the field on game day, and then all of a sudden you’re standing there watching,” Ash said. “That’s a tough deal to go through, but he accepted it. Eventually he understood what he needed to do, and he’s gone and done it.”But with every year comes new opportunities. Brinkley has since gone on to graduate, leaving a clear shot for Smith to regain the role he enjoyed two years ago.Now, Smith is responding to any and all competition.“Before, things came easy for Devin, and then when other guys started to step up, he didn’t step up and now he’s learned to compete, and he’s competing right now to make himself the best he can be,” Ash said.After two weeks of spring camp, Smith has earned playing time with the first-team defense and appears to be the No. 1 candidate to start opposite Fenelus at cornerback this season.Throughout camp, Smith has dealt with a sprained AC joint – a joint in the top of the shoulder – although he has said it’s a “really minor” injury. The UW staff has given him a green jersey like quarterbacks wear for practice to make other players aware.However, that green jersey hasn’t prevented him from at least some kinds of drills involving contact. Thursday, he participated in bump and run drills with wide receivers and, despite his maimed shoulder, did not allow a single receiver to get past him without first disrupting the route too much. Saturday, he again practiced with the first team defense in a scrimmage.“I definitely think he’s embracing the role as the starting corner,” redshirt senior safety Aaron Henry said. “He’s definitely upped his level of play. He really hasn’t been doing anything that he wasn’t doing initially, but I think it’s just the confidence level. Last year he wasn’t as confident. I’m sure he’d tell you that, but going into spring ball, he’s a whole lot more confident. He knows he can play with anybody in the country.”When asked where the Smith’s strengths lie, Ash mentioned that although he does have a lot of talent, it’s the football IQ and technique that allow Smith to succeed.That’s lucky for Ash, because Smith still hopes to improve in those areas – as well as others – in the leadup to his senior year.“I’m really just focusing on my technique as a whole,” Smith said. “Also, I’m just trying to make sure I become a smarter player, just recognizing certain situations, being able to play a lot faster and just becoming a lock-down corner on my side where the rest of my team can count on me.”Now that’s competing.last_img read more