NORTHBOROUGH — The rumor mill began churning around 4:52 p.m.
Unlike most other sports, there was no horn, expiring clock or grand finale to alert the members of the Manchester Essex girls tennis team that they had just accomplished their ultimate goal.
Instead, Hornets senior co-captain Hannah Daley stepped off the court, fresh off a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Eliza Ellis and heard the whispers.
"I looked up and my sister (Rachel) was all smiles," Daley said. "We already had a couple wins, but we knew Michelle (Fuca) would clinch it."
Daley, in her last moments as a Hornets athlete was playing the part of psychic. In the end, she was 100 percent correct.
Fuca's 6-3, 6-2 victory over Sara Plager set off an understated celebration as Manchester Essex won the Div. 3 State Tennis Championship at Algonquin High School Wednesday. It is Manchester Essex's first state girls tennis title since 2001.
"I started playing for Manchester Essex in the seventh grade and for this to be the last thing I do as an athlete at this school is an unbelievable feeling," Daley said. "It's been an awesome journey for all of us."
The Hornets were a team that certainly picked up steam as the state tournament wore on. Manchester Essex pounded Austin Prep 5-0 in the first while also beating Lynnfield 5-0 in the second round.
The Hornets then beat Bedford while also edging Old Rochester, 3-2 to set up the state finals with Lenox.
"It's awesome, two days ago we were the ones with the last match," Eliza Rohner said. "It was nerve-racking. But today we were the first ones done and got to root on the rest of the team."
Rohner has been playing for Manchester Essex since eighth grade and is now the junior captain along with Daley. Rohner and Rachel Daley were victorious as well, 6-4, 6-1.
Anna Tyler and Molly Carlson wrapped things up with a 7-5, 6-0 victory and Kendall McCormick had a fine performance despite a 6-3, 6-2 loss.
The Hornets finish the season with a very impressive 18-4 record and most importantly, bring home the MIAA Div. 3 trophy.
"I didn't think we'd go this far," said an excited Fuca. "But once we started winning tournament matches, I thought we had a shot. The competition against tough schools throughout the year made us more prepared these past couple of weeks."
With Hannah Daley the only one graduating, the Hornets will be expected to compete for the Div. 3 state title once again in 2012.
For now, however, the squad will cherish their championship. In 2011, no tennis team in the state was as successful as Manchester Essex.