A typical Marcellus girls volleyball season would feature total domination of the OHSL Liberty division, a sweep of weekend tournaments, and ultimately a run to Section III and regional Class B championship glory.
To date, much of the typical Mustang traits have been missing. However, a championship run might still be within reach.
Finally able to have its full crew out on the court last Monday night, Marcellus electrified the home crowd by taking the action right to archrival Skaneateles and producing a three-game sweep, just like old times.
In doing so, the Mustangs reestablished its contender credentials while, at the same time, it handed the 11-0 Lakers its first defeat of the season.
These teams were supposed to meet at Marcellus Dec. 22, but a winter snowstorm forced a postponement. That gave the Mustangs a month of time that, as it turned out, would be needed to return to top form.
On its way to a 7-4 mark, Marcellus had seen six different players, including key parts like Kelly McInerney and Kayla Howard, miss time due to illness or injury. Opponents like Homer and Cazenovia had exploited these absences into wins over the Mustangs, and Skaneateles beat them, too, back on Dec. 11.
Now, though, Marcellus was ready to answer back. Exploiting every possible Skaneateles mistake in the first two games, the Mustangs won the opener 25-15 and claimed the second game 25-16, gaining a big edge.
Only in the third game did Skaneateles regroup and start to display its power. Marcellus had answers, though, and after several match points got thwarted, it broke the 27-27 tie and won the game, 29-27, to complete its sweep.
Serving as the backbone of the Mustangs' effort, Samantha Vulcano shook off a sinus infection to earn 23 assists as libero Carly Annable reached for 27 digs, an average of nine digs per game. Rebecca Eddy helped out with nine assists, plus four kills, as Rochelle Valentine earned seven assists.
Up front, Kassie Phillips produced 14 kills, adding five aces, while Howard had eight kills and McInerney gained seven kills. Skaneateles, in defeat, had Chloe Warner earn 17 assists as Ryan Merle and Emily Wood each got nine kills. Katherine Hill added five kills.