The Elgin-Larkin rivalry never requires any additional reminders or extra pizazz.
But if you're caught lacking energy for such a pivotal matchup it can be a year long agony that never goes away.
The Elgin boys volleyball team, with just one win on the season, wanted none of that as it had Tuesday's match against Larkin marked on the calendar all season. The Maroons were the ones who brought the energy in an Upstate Eight win in 2 sets by the same score of 25-18 at Chesbrough Field House, and they were the ones walking out with bragging rights.
"It's been marked on my calendar for a while," said Elgin's Travis Paquin. "I'm glad we can walk out of here and put a W on that."
The Maroons (2-22, 1-1) showed a little fatigue in Game 2, when Larkin rallied from 8 points down to cut its deficit to 1. But overall, whether it was catching the Royals off guard on defense behind the block, a tip by one of the Paquin brothers in the front row, a power kill from outside hitter Jason Michalik or the passing of Eric Hernandez, Elgin took its second win of the season with pride.
"The energy was there tonight and if you want to beat Larkin, records don't matter, it's whoever shows up ready to play that day," said Maroons' coach Scott Stewart. "We did a nice job of staying focused from start to finish. I'm proud of all the boys. We needed this win and we took it."
Ulissess Dominguez led the way with 8 kills, while Michalik had 5 kills and 5 digs. Hernandez finished with 14 assists and Kyle Paquin had 2 kills to go with 5 digs.
Larkin (1-19, 0-2), which managed at times to cut Elgin's lead to 1 in both games, was led by Rodrigo Tapia's 7 kills and 4 digs. Leo Perez managed 3 kills, 2 blocks and 5 digs while Cleo Redmond had 15 assists to go with 6 digs.
"Our energy level wasn't high enough, especially for a rivalry game," Larkin coach Henry Graack said. "You don't play with enough energy against your rival, you're not going to win. "
Larkin clearly came out flat-footed when it accounted for 6 errors on the game's first 10 points. The Royals rallied to within 1 at 11-10 behind Abel Sanez's blocking up front, but quiet tips by the Paquins helped push the gap.
Once the ball got to Michalik on the outside, he was able to create some separation. One of his kills made it 14-11 Elgin and a pass from Hernandez helped Michalik get the Maroons a 23-16 lead. Michalik later sealed matters with a spike near the left corner of the net and that wasn't the last time he'd power through.
"I was really getting my approach down tonight," said Michalik. "The last few games I've been a half step behind. I've been going up way too early and haven't been able to get much power into it but Eric's sets were really consistent."
Game 2 opened up in Elgin fashion as the Maroons jumped to a 10-3 lead on a few Larkin errors as Hernandez held serve. The Maroons upped the lead to to 14-7 but Larkin's clawed its way back in, led by tips from Leo Perez and blocks by Saenz to pull within 17-16. But power kills by Dominguez and later Michalik staved off the rally.
"The most vital thing was trying to keep the team up and motivated because I know our team, when we start getting on a downward pace it's really hard to get us back up," Kyle Paquin said. "So the important thing was to keep us all up and keep us all motivated and the right mindset to win the game."