Skaneateles Back on Sept. 26, when the Skaneateles girls volleyball team rallied to beat Marcellus in five sets, perhaps it sensed that the two long-time rivals would cross paths again in the Section III Class B playoffs.
That's exactly what transpired as, in Tuesday night's sectional quarterfinals, the Lakers again went to five sets with the Mustangs - and again, managed to prevail to keep its dreams of another championship alive.
Even though Skaneateles was the no. 3 seed and Marcellus the no. 6 seed, the Mustangs came into the sectional tournament with some confidence, having beaten Westhill (the eventual no. 2 playoff seed) exactly one week earlier as the Lakers were taking a four-set loss to Jamesville-DeWitt.
So it didn't come as a complete surprise that Marcellus won the opening set 25-16 here, and were poised to go up 2-0 before the Lakers forged a 25-25 tie in the second set, regained the serve and held on to it to win 27-25 and even things up.
The third set went like the first, except that this time Skaneateles had the comfortable margin, 25-17, but Marcellus shook that off and won a close fourth set 25-21, sending the match to the wire.
With its season on the line in the fifth set, Skaneateles drew upon its championship experience and poise, and prevailed in another 25-17 decision.
On a balanced Laker front line, Natalie Roche, Kelsey Kraetz and Malorie Olin each finished with nine kills. Roche also contributed on the defensive side with 13 digs, while Kraetz got four blocks and Olin managed two aces, two blocks and three digs.
Mia Campanile managed 18 assists, plus six digs. Grace Delasin added eight assists, eight digs, two aces and two kills, while Kelsey Farrell put together six digs, three kills, three blocks, two aces and two assists. Casey VanSlyke had a team-best 15 digs as Kristina Didio put up 11 digs.
Meanwhile, Marcellus saw Kayla Bryant lead the way with 30 assists, 10 digs, three aces and two kills. Brittney Valentine added 34 digs as Zoe Higgins produced 12 kills. Suzanna Sylcox and Eimile O'Brien each added seven kills.
On Friday night, Skaneateles will meet no. 2 seed Westhill in the Class B semifinals, with the winner to take on Solvay or Phoenix in the sectional title match next Tuesday at Jamesville-DeWitt High School.