Leslie Boey decided she needed to relieve her Marysville High School girls volleyball team of tension. It was time for a joke.

"They were corny, very corny," Hannah McShea said. "But they made us laugh and that's what we needed. We had to start having fun. We had nothing to lose."

Marysville turned the momentum in its favor and defeated Watterson 20-25, 15-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-12 in a Division I district final, earning its first district title.

"From the beginning no one though we had a chance against Watterson," Boey said. "We just looked tense those first two games. We started fighting with one another and started blaming one another. I told them a dumb, goofy joke.

"It took awhile for half of the team to get it. Once they got it and started laughing, they realized it was not about whose going to win or whose going to lose, let's just go out and have fun."

Marysville improved to 22-4 and will play Thursday in a regional semifinal at Hilliard Davidson against Cincinnati Ursuline or Butler.

Watterson won the first two games thanks in part to strong play by its front line and unforced errors by Marysville.

"Once we start making mistakes bad things keep happening," McShea said. "We just needed to be more efficient."

After Marysville won the third game, the momentum swung in the Monarchs' favor and those silly errors started to be committed by Watterson.

"We started making more errors than we usually do," Watterson outside hitter Isabel Custodio said. "That brought down our momentum and we started falling apart as Marysville starting playing well."

According to Custodio, Marysville started to find open spots in the Watterson defense.

"Hannah kept going over our blocks," said Custodio, whose team finished 22-4. "That was messing up where we were on defense and we had trouble adjusting."

Watterson was making its ninth appearance in a district final in 10 years.

"We got out on the court (in the third game) and for each other we really wanted it," McShea said. "We just had to keep focus and it came down to having heart."