As if the rivalry between Marcellus and Skaneateles was not heated enough, they went out Saturday to decide the Section III Class B-1 girls volleyball championship.
On the same Jamesville-DeWitt court where it saw the crown go away 12 months ago, the Mustangs returned to the top, sweeping the Lakers in three games.
Each side had lots of motivation for this battle. The Mustangs wanted to reclaim the sectional throne it had held for much of the new millennium -- six straight years, to be exact - before Cazenovia topped them in 2006.
The Lakers, for its part, wanted its first title since 1998, hoping that its grit and determination would overcome the Mustangs' talent advantage, as well as the fact that Marcellus had won both regular-season meetings.
Under the tense circumstances, both sides struggled in the opening game. Skaneateles fell behind, 13-6, but steadied itself and, by 15-15, had caught up to Marcellus.
By the late stages, Skaneateles had a 21-19 lead and was poised to put the Mustangs in an early deficit, just as Cazenovia had done in the semifinal round.
However, when the Mustangs got the serve back, it reeled off six unanswered points in the match's most decisive moment. Rachel Eddy provided five great serves in a row, and by a score of 25-21, Marcellus had a lead it would not relinquish.
In the second game, the two sides were tied, 14-14, before the Mustangs reeled off a 4-0 run to go in front. Despite a slew of mistakes, Marcellus clung to that margin and went up 2-0 in another 25-21 decision.
Marcellus got a lot sharper in the third game, earning the first five points and eventually taking a 25-15 win to close out the sweep -- and sew up the B-1 title.
Lauren Fletcher earned 14 kills, five blocks and three aces. Kayla Howard helped out with four kills, as Jenn Daley earned 21 assists.