In the end, when championships were on the line, Mountain View proved itself the superior boys volleyball team.
However, St. Francis certainly made the Spartans work to earn that distinction.
Senior middle blocker Alec Flowers' match-clinching kill secured Mountain View's 25-23, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16 win over its crosstown rival in the CIF NorCal Region Division I championship Saturday night at Dublin High.
"A huge part of me is very proud of Mountain View," St. Francis coach Mike Rubin said. "I've coached four of their guys (in club volleyball) the past two years. It's crazy how much talent there is within a half mile of each other."
It was the second time in less than two weeks that the Spartans (34-3) had defeated the Lancers (27-7) with a title at stake. Mountain View topped the Lancers in five games in the Central Coast Section final on May 20, and through the first three games Saturday's match looked to be just as tough. All three games were decided by the slimmest of margins, and neither team led by more than four points at any juncture.
"It's always a battle with these guys," Spartans coach M. Anthony Chen said. "Whoever got that third game was going to have the upper hand because they'd have the momentum. From there it was just a matter of executing down the stretch."
And execute Mountain View did in the fourth game, building a 10-point lead and keeping St. Francis on its heels for the remainder of the match.
"Our serve picked up and put a lot of pressure on them," said senior opposite-side hitter Ryan McLaughlin, who led Mountain View with 17 kills. "We weren't tentative -- we had a sense of urgency, and we capitalized."
It helped that the Spartans had multiple kills from five different players in the fourth game.
"Coach's philosophy is that our team is a whole bunch of pieces, and we showed that tonight," McLaughlin said. "We each had our moment to shine, and that made it even better."
Flowers had 16 kills for Mountain View, while senior setter Logan Allen dished out 39 assists and senior libero Collin Frietzsche had 29 digs.
St. Francis got a match-high 20 kills from junior outside hitter Steven Dinneen and 18 from sophomore outside hitter Matt Larson.
"Mountain View had a lot of players on the court who were juniors when they lost in the semis last year," Rubin said. "Our guys will use this loss to fuel them just like (the Spartans) used last year's loss to fuel them."
Aragon junior Candy Zhang captured her third consecutive Central Coast Section girls singles crown at the CCS badminton championships at Independence in San Jose.
Zhang defeated Carlmont's Tracy Chu 21-13, 21-5 to become just the second girl in section history to win three singles titles. The first was Lynbrook's Connie Hwang, who did it in 2006-08.
Monta Vista's Justin Ma outdueled Los Altos' Albert Li in three grueling sets in the second of two matches to win the boys singles championship 25-23, 17-21, 21-18. Li defeated Ma 21-15, 21-9 in the first finals match after losing to Ma in the semifinals of the double-elimination tournament.
Two pairs of siblings won doubles titles: Twin sisters Kerry and Annie Xu of Leigh landed the girls crown, and brothers Mason and Eric Jiang of Evergreen Valley outlasted Roberto Zeng and Stanley Chea in the boys final. Gunn's Michael Xiong and Angela Lin won the mixed doubles title.