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Democrat Photos by Rob Potter

SULLIVAN WEST SENIORS Amanda Gruenke (4), Megan McCormack (22), Erika McKinney (8) and Alexandra Peters (5) presented flowers to their parents and family members prior to Tuesday’s OCIAA match versus James I. O’Neill.

O'Neill Sweeps Past Lady Bulldogs

By Rob Potter
LAKE HUNTINGTON — October 27, 2006 — The Sullivan West volleyball team celebrated Senior Day prior to its Tuesday afternoon match versus visiting James I. O’Neill.
The four seniors on the Lady Bulldogs’ roster – Amanda Gruenke, Megan McCormack, Erika McKinney and Alexandra Peters – were introduced to the crowd and then presented flowers to their parents and family members.
Once the match began, however, it was the Lady Raiders who celebrated a victory.
O’Neill swept SW in three games, 25-21, 25-20, 25-16, to win the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division II match.
SW (2-10) took a 7-5 lead in the first game on service aces by Brittany Gieger and Peters.
But a kill by O’Neill’s Kim Dodge knotted the score at 8-8.
Although the Lady Bulldogs tied the score four times during the rest of the game, including at 13-13 on an ace by McKinney and at 20-20 with an ace by McCormack, they could not retake the lead.
In the second game, O’Neill (4-10) tied the score at 2-2 on a kill by Brandi Ripa. She had a block and another kill later in the game to help the Lady Raiders take a 10-4 advantage.
As the game moved along, SW twice pulled to within four points at 14-10 and 17-13 on aces by Cara Davies and McKinney, respectively.
The Lady Bulldogs closed the gap to 18-16 on an error by O’Neill.
But the Lady Raiders ended the game with a 7-3 scoring run.
Except when the score was tied at 3-3, O’Neill led throughout the third game on its way to winning the match.
“It was a tough loss,” SW Coach Cliff Kelly said. “We never seemed to be in the match.”
Kelly noted that in his long coaching career, there have been times when the student-athletes he was guiding had a tough time focusing on the contest at hand because school was not in session that day. (Like other Sullivan County school districts, SW was closed on Tuesday due to a Superintendent’s Conference Day.)
“But that’s no excuse,” said Kelly, who noted that the Lady Bulldogs defeated the Lady Raiders earlier this season.
Davies paced SW with 10 assists and five kills. Gieger added four blocks and four kills, while Camille Peters had four points and three kills.
Leading O’Neill to the win were Dodge, Ripa and Meghan Kort.
Dodge, who is one of the team’s co-captains, had nine kills, five digs and five points. Ripa registered nine assists, nine digs, seven points, five kills and four blocks. Kort added five kills, three digs, three points and two aces.
“We have been better with our serving and offensive game lately,” O’Neill Coach Debbie Murphy said. “We have been good defensively all season.”

Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

IT WAS SENIOR recognition night at Tuesday’s Monticello volleyball game. From the left: Nicole Schnitzer and her daughter Lexi (13); April Finn and daughter Iris Robinson (15); Ramona Gray and daughter Roselyn (22); and Lisa Crawford and daughter Katie. April Finn and Lisa Crawford played for volleyball coach Karen Atack when she first coached the basketball team at Monticello High School back in the early 1980s.

Monties Defeat Tuxedo in Regular Season Finale

By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO — Either Monticello put on a matchless volleyball exhibition on Tuesday night – or it faced a dispirited opponent at the nadir of its season’s fortunes.
Either way, it was hard to gauge the team’s readiness for the upcoming Section IX Tournament, where the Lady Panthers are expected to draw either the second or third seed in the A bracket.
Monticello coach Karen Atack refused to speculate on who her team’s first-round opponent might be as she perused an official Section IX volleyball document.
“We’re not allowed to be at the seeding meeting this Thursday night,” she said of coaches. “We’ll find out about the brackets Friday morning [October 27] on the [OCIAA] Web site.”
There was little doubt of the outcome of Tuesday’s OCIAA Division II match as Monticello never fell behind in sweeping the Tuxedo Tornadoes by the totally dominating scores of 25-2, 25-9 and 25-8.
In the first game, Emily Drobysh served for the last 10 points, garnering three aces and two of them were “pure” – that is, dropped in untouched.
“Tuxedo gave us a much better game [in Tuxedo on September 25],” said Atack. “I don’t know what happened tonight. They collapsed.
“This was night and day,” she added.
Though disappointed that the Monties could not catch Cornwall for the league title, Atack noted there were years “when we won the league and lost in sectionals and other years when we lost the league but won the sectionals. [The tournament] should be interesting.”
Monticello shared the league title with Cornwall last year, as both squads compiled 15-1 records. This season the Lady Green Dragons, who return all the starters from the defending Class A championship team, held a 15–0 record with one match to play while Monticello finished 13–3.
“We still have some things to work on,” said Atack, who hopes her team is peaking at the right time. “[But] you can never count us out.”
On Tuesday, Drobysh led Monticello with 12 service points while Pollyanna Palhano had 10 and Eryn Robinson added nine.

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