By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO November 3, 2006 To the disappointment of the Monticello coaches, players and fans, a spirited comeback attempt in the fifth game of Wednesday night’s Section IX Class A volleyball semifinal match against visiting Goshen came up a bit short.
After Goshen took the first two games, the Lady Panthers rallied to win the third and fourth games to force the fifth and deciding game.
In that game, a kill by the Lady Gladiators’ Michelle DeNisco broke an early 2-2 tie. Goshen (13-5) then led the rest of the way to record a 26-24, 25-17, 9-25, 13-25, 25-22 victory.
Goshen, which is seeded sixth in the Class A tourney, will play top-seeded Cornwall for the sectional crown on Sunday afternoon at SUNY New Paltz.
Second-seeded Monticello finished its season with a 13-6 record.
Two of those 13 victories were against Goshen. On September 11, the Lady Panthers swept the Lady Gladiators in three games at Monticello High School in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division II match. Then on October 11, the Monties prevailed in five games in Goshen in another OCIAA Division II contest.
On Wednesday night, the Lady Gladiators’ biggest lead in the decisive fifth game was at 15-6 when Concetta D’Alessio recorded a kill.
But with their vociferous hometown crowd cheering them on, the Lady Panthers quickly closed that gap.
A block by junior outside hitter/setter Emily Drobysh pulled the Monties to within two points at 22-20.
A service error by Goshen seconds later brought Monticello even closer at 22-21.
However, a block by Francesca Albanese and kill by Kerri Gannon allowed the Lady Gladiators to reach match point at 24-21.
Shortly thereafter, Albanese ended the match with a kill down the middle of the court.
Leading Goshen to the upset victory were Gannon, who had 16 kills and 32 digs, and Katie Barry, who registered 32 assists and 30 digs.
D’Alessio added 31 digs, 11 kills and nine service points.
“We knew Monticello would put up a fight,” Goshen Coach Melissa Lazaro said. “I told my team that they would have to fight for every point of every game.
“I am very proud of my players,” she added. “They did not give up.”
Drobysh paced Monticello with 20 kills, 17 blocks, 16 digs and 14 service points.
Junior outside hitter/setter Pollyanna Palhano recorded 20 blocks, 13 digs, 10 kills and nine service points and defender Iris Robinson added 15 service points for the Lady Panthers.
“Goshen was the better team tonight,” Monticello Coach Karen Atack said. “We wish them the best of luck in the sectional final.”