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Rob Potter | Democrat

Monticello’s Hayley Brennan (5) watches as teammate Alissa Hermida (11) hits the ball over the block of Cornwall’s Brittany Bryant during the second game of Wednesday night’s Section IX Class A volleyball semifinal match in New Windsor. Also watching the play is Cornwall’s Julia Anderson (4).

Cornwall tops Monticello in ‘A’ volleyball semifinal

By Rob Potter
NEW WINDSOR — November 5, 2010 — The Monticello Lady Panthers faced a difficult task on Wednesday night.
In order to advance to the Section IX Class A volleyball title match, No. 4 seed Monticello would have to defeat the No. 1 seed and undefeated Cornwall Lady Dragons on their home court.
While they played valiantly, the Lady Panthers saw their season come to a disappointing end as they were swept by the Lady Dragons in the Class A semifinal match in New Windsor.
Cornwall (17-0) won the match, 25-7, 25-16, 25-13, to advance to the Class A final. The Lady Dragons will play Port Jervis for the Class A championship on Sunday afternoon at SUNY New Paltz.
In game 1, Cornwall took a 6-2 lead when Brittany Bryant made two straight kills. Julia Anderson served an ace and made a kill as the Lady Dragons went on an 8-3 scoring run to extend their lead to 14-5.
Moments later Cornwall senior middle hitter Caitlin Fay served two consecutive aces to win the game, 25-7.
A kill by Alissa Hermida and a hitting error by Cornwall allowed Monticello (11-9) to take a 3-1 advantage early in game 2.
After the Lady Dragons had regained the lead, Monticello’s Hayley Brennan served back-to-back aces to bring her team to within a point at 10-9. And the Lady Panthers evened the score at 11-11 when a Cornwall player spiked the ball into the net.
Cornwall then took advantage of four Monticello hitting errors to grab a 15-11 lead.
Olivia Jebb had three kills and Sam Catalonotto served an ace as the Lady Dragons went on a 10-5 run to win the game, 25-16.
Catalonotto served three aces in the opening minutes of game 3 as Cornwall jumped out to a 10-1 lead. Later in the game, Anderson served two straight aces to push the Lady Dragons’ advantage to 20-5.
Mistakes by Cornwall and a block by Amanda Palko allowed the Lady Panthers to cut their deficit to 22-10.
But the Lady Dragons calmly extended their lead before Alex Jurgens made a kill to close out the game and match.
Cornwall’s two setters, Anderson and Catalonotto, led the team to victory. Anderson had 11 assists, seven digs, six aces and two kills. Catalonotto recorded eight assists, seven aces and five digs.
Also helping the Lady Dragons record the win were Bryant and Jebb. Bryant had six kills and one block. Jebb added eight kills, five digs, two blocks and one ace.
“Serving and passing are the keys to winning in high school volleyball,” Cornwall Coach Jeff Moulton said. “We served well and passed well tonight. I liked the way the girls played tonight.”
Moulton noted that while he lost seven seniors from last year’s team which reached the state Class A title match, his current team “is more athletic.” And most of the members of this season’s Lady Dragon team improve their skills by playing club volleyball during the winter and spring. During the club season, the Cornwall players face teams from several places, including Westchester County, Long Island and northern New Jersey.
Brennan, Hermida and Palko paced the Lady Panthers’ attack in Wednesday night’s match. Brennan had four service points and three aces. Hermida registered two digs, one ace, one assist, one block, one kill and one service point. Palko added five digs, two assists, one block and one kill.
“We lost to a better team tonight,” Monticello Coach Karen Atack said. “Cornwall has a terrific team.
“We started to play better in the second and third games,” she added. “But we had too many free balls tonight. And Cornwall spikes on free balls.”
Atack was happy with the way her team played.
“We have nothing to feel bad about,” she said. “We can hold our heads up high.”
The match marked the scholastic volleyball finale for Monticello’s eight seniors. They are Caitlin Bonnaci, Hayley Brennan, Jacqueline Cassaro, Alissa Hermida, Jenna Oldfield, Amanda Palko, Brittany Santos and Taneka Snowden.

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