No doubt, defeats in its last two regular-season games had left the Marcellus girls lacrosse team in a more precarious position, even as it took a no. 2 seed into the Section III Class C playoffs.
Yet any concerns for Mustangs followers were temporarily calmed in Tuesday night's Class C quarterfinal against no. 7 seed Jordan-Elbridge. Rested and refreshed, Marcellus got stronger as the night progressed, eventually pulling away to eliminate the Eagles 17-7.
A late-season charge had pushed J-E's record to 10-7. One of those defeats had come in mid-season, to Marcellus in a 15-9 decision, the game competitive enough to give the Eagles reason to think it could inch closer, especially against a Mustang side trying to break a two-game skid.
But Marcellus had shaken off those losses, as evidenced by a solid first half where Renee Poullott made most of her 11 saves and the rest of the Mustangs' defense kept J-E in check, too.
Trailing 7-2 at the break, the Eagles' attack started to find more success in the second half - but Marcellus doubled them up anyway, 10-5, and showed more depth in its attack, too, with eight different players scoring.
Nora Barry and Catherine Nolan led the hosts with four goals apiece. Molly McGuane found the net three times, while Ellen Brooks earned two goals and two assists. Grace Nolan, Audrey Cerrone, Emily Hennigan and Nicole Dorio landed one goal apiece, with Courtney Tomeny adding an assist.
J-E saw just one player, Carrie-Jo Farrugia, score more than once, finishing with four goals as Ella Thorpe, Kelsey Youmell and Emily Bates also converted. Kali Davis added an assist as Kelsey Richardson had a brave effort in the net, recording 17 saves.
This leads Marcellus to an all-too-familiar opponent in Thursday's Class C semifinal at West Genesee - Skaneateles, the no. 3 seed. The two rivals split their regular-season meetings, each side winning by a single goal on the road, and the Lakers nearly blew a huge second-half lead before hanging on to beat Tully 16-15 in its quarterfinal. The winner here gets CBA or South Jefferson in the May 31 final at Liverpool High School Stadium.