By Rob Potter
NEWBURGH November 5, 2002 The Monticello girls volleyball team certainly did not surrender its status as defending Section IX Class B champions easily.
Down two games to one in Saturdays Section IX Class B championship match with New Paltz, the Lady Panthers grabbed an early 4-0 lead in game four. Monticello (17-2) won that game 25-14 to force the deciding fifth game in the match, which was held at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
In that fifth game, however, New Paltz (21-1) outscored Monticello by a 15-6 margin to turn an early 3-3 tie into a comfortable 18-9 lead.
The Lady Huguenots went on to win the game 25-16 and the match, three games to two. The game scores were 25-18 Monticello, 25-23 New Paltz, 25-21 New Paltz, 25-14 Monticello and 25-16 New Paltz.
Leading New Paltz to the victory were senior Andrea Wilkinson, sophomore Angela Robins and junior Jamie Kraus. Wilkinson recorded 28 digs, 10 kills and six points, Robins had 12 assists and five points and Kraus compiled 15 points, 12 kills, seven digs and four aces.
New Paltz Coach Erin O Sullivan noted that her team did not get rattled when Monticello forced the deciding game.
We knew we had to hit and serve well today, O Sullivan said. We went back to basics and had a nice balance.
Senior Katy Schlichtman paced the Lady Panthers with 21 points, 10 kills, five aces, three blocks and three digs. Junior Deidre Smith added 15 kills, five blocks, five digs and three assists, while senior Tricia Parks had 10 points and two aces.
We are still very proud of the season we had, Monticello Coach Karen Atack said. Today, New Paltz was the better team. We wish them the best of luck in the regionals.
(New Paltz now moves on to face the Section IV Class B champion in the first round of state competition.)
The loss was especially tough for Monticello seniors Jennifer King, Desiree Hinton, Tishanna McCullough, Parks, Schlichtman and Holli Schoonmaker.
They played better than we did, Schoonmaker said. This is a good group of players and we have had a lot of good memories. Our teammates are like a second family.
This team worked very hard and we had a great season, Schlichtman commented. They were just the better team tonight.
For the Monti seniors, the match marked an emotional end to the 2002 season and their scholastic volleyball careers.
It hurts so bad because we have such a close-knit team, said Parks, who along with Schlichtman and Schoonmaker, served as a team captain this season. We definitely learned a lot on the volleyball court, but we learned even more off the court. We have some great memories and we became a second family.
Note: After the match, the Monticello players were presented with the Mid-Hudson Board of Volleyball Officials Jim Ross Memorial Sportsmanship Award. This is the second consecutive year the Lady Panthers have been honored for their sportsmanship on the court.