By Rob Potter
FALLSBURG October 4, 2005 The Monticello Lady Panthers defeated the host Fallsburg Lady Comets in three straight games in Fridays Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division II match.
Monticello (8-1, 8-1 Division II) won the first game 25-19, took the second game 25-5 and captured the third game 25-20.
The Lady Panthers began slowly, hitting the ball into the net a couple of times and falling behind 4-0. But they quickly rallied to tie the game at 4-4.
Monticello opened up a 9-4 lead thanks to an ace by Tracyan Leslie and a block by Pollyanna Palhano.
Fallsburg (0-9, 0-9 Division II) came back to take a 13-11 advantage on an ace by Jocelyn Justiniano.
But moments later, a kill by Monticellos Emily Drobysh tied the score at 13-13.
The Monties then outscored the Lady Comets 12-6 to win the game.
The Lady Panthers grabbed a big lead at the beginning of the second game and didnt look back. Three consecutive aces by Palhano helped Monticello take a 10-2 lead. Marissa Smithem recorded two straight aces a few minutes later as the Monties extended their advantage to 22-4.
The third game was much closer, however, as the score was tied six times in the stanza.
With the score knotted at 20-20, Fallsburg made two mistakes. First a serve was short and hit the net, then a return went out of bounds. As a result, Monticello took a 22-20 lead.
Two aces by Anna Rivera and another errant return gave the Monties a five-point win.
Smithem finished the match with 12 points, four aces and two digs, while Leslie had 11 points and four aces. Rivera added 10 points and four kills and Palhano recorded eight points and four aces.
In addition, Drobysh and Chelsea Reuss each had four kills for the Lady Panthers.
Fallsburg was led by Jessica Brown, who posted five points, three aces, two kills and one dig, and Brittany Hunter, who had six points, three digs and two aces.
Christine Justiniano added four points and two aces and Jocelyn Justiniano had five points for the Lady Comets.
Monticello Coach Karen Atack noted that the sun shining through the windows high above the court accounted for the first game being relatively close and the second game being more lopsided.
In the first game, the sun was shining into our eyes and in the second game, it was right in their eyes, she said. The sun shining into the gym in those first two games really made a difference.
Atack was happy with the way her team played throughout the match.
Everybody got to play today, she commented. Every player got some minutes and its nice when we can do that.
Like Atack, Fallsburg Coach Chris Barnes felt that the bright sunlight shining on the court affected the outcome of the match.
Its tough to see on the side of the net that faces the windows, he said.
Despite the loss, Barnes was pleased with the Lady Comets performance.
Im proud of the way we played against a very good team, he said. This is a good group of players that keeps working hard to get better.