So another season where the Marcellus girls lacrosse team feels that, at last, it will get to the top of the Section III Class C ranks is underway.
Yet a haunting and familiar theme lingers from seasons past - namely, close and agonizing defeats to its neighbors from Skaneateles.
The latest chapter in the Marcellus-Skaneateles saga unfolded Thursday night, the Mustangs taking a 9-8 defeat where it led by as many as four in the second half, but could not hold on.
Having smashed Cicero-North Syracuse 16-3 in its opener two nights earlier, Marcellus arrived with a full amount of confidence, even though Skaneatlees returned most of its starters from 2010, when it lost the Section III Class C final to Carthage.
Right away, the Lakers' plan was obvious - stop Florida-bound senior Nora Barry and slow the tempo down.
On both ends in the first half, Skaneateles succeeded, holding Barry without a point by putting two defenders on her at all times, even when she didn't have the ball. Then when Barry did gain possession, as many as four defenders would swarm her.
Still, the Mustangs erased three different one-goal deficits to lead 4-3 at halftime. Catherine Nolan scored twice, while Ellen Brooks and Molly McGuane also converted, the goals coming on solo runs through space opened up by all the attention given to Barry.
Early in the second half, Barry started finding space to operate - and promptly burned Skaneateles for three straight goals (two of them 32 seconds apart), stretching the Marcellus lead to 7-3. Yet the Lakers rallied and, thanks to goals by Carly Davis and Erin Callahan 15 seconds apart, moved within 7-6 midway through the half.
Barry's fourth goal made it 8-6 with 11:19 left, but the Mustangs would not score again, giving Skaneateles ample time to catch up. And it was 8-7 when, with 1:16 to play, a yellow card left Marcellus a player short for the remainder of regulation.