By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO The Monticello Lady Panthers took an early lead in their Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division III soccer match on Wednesday afternoon against the visiting Cornwall Lady Dragons.
But unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, their coaches and the hometown fans in attendance for the team’s Senior Day, Cornwall rallied for a 3-1 victory.
Cornwall, which is ranked among the top 20 Class A teams in the state by the New York State Sportswriters Association, improved its overall record to 12-3 this season. The Lady Dragons, who clinched the Div. III title with victory over Goshen last week, finished an unblemished 6-0 within the division.
Less than 10 minutes into the match, Annie Purcell gave Monticello (2-12-1, 1-5 Div. III) a 1-0 lead by beating Cornwall goalie Gabby Chamberlain with a high shot.
Kerissa Bennett assisted Purcell on the tally.
But the Lady Dragons tied the match about 15 minutes later when Kim Sharo scored unassisted.
With about five minutes left in the opening half, Caroline Staudle gave Cornwall a 2-1 lead with a quick shot from the top of the goal box which eluded Monticello junior goalkeeper Jess Stant.
Junior midfielder Kaitlyn Strine assisted Staudle on the goal.
Staudle scored an unassisted insurance goal for the Lady Dragons 5:46 into the second half.
“It was a good win for us,” Cornwall Coach Rick Miller said. “We lost a 2-1 game to Warwick last night and I think were a little bit fatigued at the beginning of today’s game.
“Monticello came out and did a great job,” he added. “Monticello played hard for the entire game.”
Chamberlain, who played the first 40 minutes, and Cathy Eliason, entered the match for the second half, registered one save apiece.
Stant made 22 saves on the afternoon. She made several of those stops by quickly diving to her left or right or by jumping up to deflect the ball with her hands for a split second before securing the ball in her grasp.
“These girls kept getting better as the season moved along,” Monticello Coach Bill Stento said. “They started to move the ball upfield and downfield better and make good crossing passes. I’m very proud of all of them.”
During the Senior Day ceremony at halftime, Stento and Assistant Coach Katie Alvarez honored Anastasia Bowden, Kenisha Haynes and Alyson Huffman by presenting them with flowers.
Stento praised Bowden, a four-year varsity player and one of this season’s team captains, and Haynes and Huffman, both of whom are two-year varsity players, for all of their contributions and dedication to the team.