For the Marcellus girls volleyball team, just reaching the Section III Class B-1 final against its big rival, Skaneateles, was enough of an effort.
Marcellus shed a year-long ghost last Tuesday night, when it beat Cazenovia in five games in the Class B-1 semifinals.
That 2006 sectional final, where Marcellus was one point from victory, only to take a painful five-game loss to the Lakers, had stuck in the memory of all the returning Mustangs, giving extra resonance to this match.
"You have no idea what this means," said junior Lauren Fletcher. "It feels so good to beat Cazenovia."
They had met twice in the regular season, each side winning at home in three-game sweeps, the Lakers' coming just a week earlier at Buckley Gym.
Now, at Marcellus, Cazenovia continued its domination in the early stages, leading throughout a 25-17 decision in the opening game.
The second game would prove to be the match's pivot point -- one that would delight Marcellus and haunt Cazenovia at the same time.
Cazenovia kicked Marcellus around in the game's early stages. At one point, the Mustangs trailed by 11 points, and was so badly off its game that, even when head coach Hy Bryant used both time-outs, he couldn't seem to change his team's shell-shocked mood.
Which only made what followed even more stunning.
Down 16-5, the Mustangs began its resurrection with five unanswered points to make it 16-10. From there, it exchanged points with Cazenovia until it was 22-16 -- a tighter situation, but the Lakers still in control.
Then, at 22-17, Rebecca Eddy got the serve and Fletcher rotated to the front. That lethal combination produced six unanswered points and, suddenly, Marcellus led 23-22 and the gym was roaring.
Now it got even more exciting. Twice on each side, the Mustangs and Lakers earned game points as the score kept rising. Every time, the chances were turned away.