In years past, the girls volleyball showdowns between Cazenovia and Marcellus took on added importance, because the Mustangs always seemed to be on top of the Class B ranks -- and the Lakers always seemed to be chasing them.
But when the two sides clashed again Thursday night in Marcellus, it was Cazenovia as the decided favorite. Still, five games were required before the Lakers could escape with a narrow victory over the Mustangs.
Two nights earlier, Marcellus had lost to another fierce rival, Skaneateles, and the shaky 1-1 start was a far cry from the domination of seasons past.
So perhaps the Lakers were not alert as to how Marcellus still could be dangerous. If that was the case, the illusion ended quickly, as the Mustangs pulled off a 25-21 victory in the opening game.
Then it turned downright erratic. The Lakers dominated the second and third games, winning by 25-11 and 25-15 margins, only to lose that magic in the fourth game as Marcellus rolled, 25-10, sending the match to the wire.
And the fifth game featured the classic drama of past Cazenovia-Marcellus showdowns, with the Lakers finally getting the necessary points at the end to prevail 25-23.
Chelsea Lauria finished with 20 assists, aided by Megan Robinson's 10 assists. Up front, Sarah Race and Liz Reed each had eight kills, while Hannah Koennecke mixed up seven kills, three blocks and two assists. Alexis Markowski and Melanie Arehart each picked up four kills.
For the Mustangs, Samantha Vulcano piled up 28 assists, aiding a balanced front line where Kim Duck (eight kills), Becca Eddy (seven kills), Sara Ryan and Devan Landers (six kills) each had solid showings.
To start out the week, the Lakers hosted Jordan-Elbridge last Tuesday night and breezed to a 25-7, 25-14, 25-17 sweep of the Eagles.
Reed had eight kills, with Koennecke earning five kills and five aces. Jenna Raleigh also had five aces, as Robinson served four aces to go with her six assists. Rachel Burbidge picked up four aces, while Chelsea Lauria earned seven assists.