By Rob Potter
NEW PALTZ November 13, 2001 Following Saturdays Section I-Section IX Regional volleyball match, Monticello senior captain Kim Donohue noted that at the beginning of the season her team adopted the classic song Aint No Mountain High Enough as its motto.
And for the Lady Panthers first 18 matches of the season, no opponent was too tall. As a result, Monticello had a perfect 18-0 record as well as the OCIAA National Conference title and Section IX Class B crown to its credit.
But in Saturdays match at SUNY New Paltz, Section I champion Henrick Hudson (20-1) proved to be too much of an obstacle for Monticello (18-1) to scale.
After losing the first game, the Sailors took the next three to record the 25-30, 30-26, 30-17, 30-17 victory and move on in the state tournament. Henrick Hudson will play in this weekends state semifinals at Hofstra University on Long Island.
Were not making any excuses, they were the better team tonight, Monticello coach Karen Atack said. The girls played their hearts out, but we were beaten by a better team.
Things started out fine for Monticello, however. Behind the serving of Donohue and fellow senior Kristen Fried, the Lady Panthers grabbed a 6-1 advantage. And aside from ties at 8-8 and 9-9 and a brief 9-8 Henrick Hudson lead, Monticello was in control in the game.
The Lady Panthers held at least a two point lead for the rest of the game.
But in the second game, things shifted.
Henrick Hudson setter Dina Bertoline had three aces as the Sailors grabbed a 10-2 advantage.
Monticello rallied to take a 14-13 lead on an ace by Donohue. After the teams went back and fourth for a few points, the score was tied at 24-24.
The Sailors scored six of the next eight points to win the game, 30-26.
Henrick Hudson, which seemed to grab the momentum by tying the match at one game a piece, kept that momentum rolling in the third and fourth games,
A kill by oustide hitter Crystal Forget gave the Lady Panthers a 7-5 lead in the third game, but that was the last advantage Monticello enjoyed in the game. After Monticello closed the gap to 10-8, Henrick Hudson scored four straight points to give itself a more comfortable lead.
The Sailors ended the game with an 11-3 run.
Henrick Hudson quickly grabbed the lead in the fourth game, mounting a 16-5 lead as Atack called a timeout to quell the Sailors momentum.
It didnt work, however, as Henrick Hudson ended the Lady Panthers season with a 10-3 run in what became the deciding game.
Henrick Hudson seemed to frustrate the Lady Panthers and take them out of their game.
Monticello had nine bad serves and 19 bad spikes in the match.
We held them off for a few points but then they started to get going, Donohue said of the key third and fourth matches. I think we could have played better.
She added that while the Lady Panthers did a good job of stopping Sailors outside hitter Alexis Hiatrides, middle blocker Mara Winokur picked up the slack. Winokur had several blocks and kills from her position during the match.
Forget finished the match with eight kills, four assists and three aces, while sophomore setter/outside hitter Deirdre Smith had seven kills, three assists and three points. Junior outside hitter Tricia Parks added 10 points for the Lady Panthers.
Despite the disappointing loss, Atack and her players were very pleased with the overall 2001 season.
I told them after the match to hold their heads up, Atack said. It was an honor to coach this team. They had a historic season and have nothing to be ashamed of.
Donohue, who finished the match with 10 points, five kills, five digs, three assists and three blocks, and Fried (10 digs, nine points, two assists, one kill) echoed their coachs sentiments.
As a senior, I couldnt have asked for anything more, Fried said. We had a wonderful season and were the fourth Monticello volleyball team to get to this point. Im so proud of the team.
We had a terrific season, Donohue added. Being one of the last eight teams in the state [tournament] is one heck of an accomplishment.