Sometimes the game score can be a bit deceiving. While Monticello was able to put together a sweep to wrap up its Jefferson District regular season slate, and lock up the second seed in the JD tournament, they had to work awfully hard to do so.
After taking a see-saw game one, the Mustangs were able to hold off William Monroe again in games two and three to make for an eventful senior night with a 3-0 win, 25-23, 25-20, 25-20.
“Our goal this year was to win the Jefferson District regular season title and we fell a little short of that,” said Monticello coach John Mitchem. “But now it’s time for the tournament we have a good chance to try and earn a (Region II bid). It’s a great opportunity to bounce back.”
With a riled up crowd the Mustangs and Dragons opened up the match with the best battle of the evening. Until the frantic finish, both teams traded short runs, each building five point leads only to have the other team roar back. With the game locked up at 18, it was then a blow for blow game, and behind the serve of Charlotte Devine, the Monticello was able to squeek out the first set of the night.
“We got down a little bit early there but were able to fight back,” Mitchem said. “Charlotte just had a great night at the service line and really sparked that comeback for us and we were able to carry the momentum a bit.”
From that point forward, Monticello played with even more poise and confidence. In both games two and three the Dragons were able to go point-for-point with the Mustangs for the first two-thirds of the way, but in both cases, Monticello pulled away at the end as senior Kate Geldmacher led the way on offense to wrap up the win.
“(Winning on senior night), it’s a little bittersweet,” Geldmacher said. “But I love my team so much and to come out with a win tonight made it all that much better.”
In her last regular season home game, Geldmacher had 11 kills and a pair of blocks. Fellow seniors Amy Skolnick and Taylor Hopkins had seven kills and 10 digs respectively. Junior Mariah Williams led the team with 11 digs and had a game high 31 assists. Devine had a game high seven aces and five kills and another sophomore, Brittany Scott, was second on the team in kills with seven.
“I’m really proud of the underclassmen for stepping up,” Geldmacher said. “I cannot wait to see what they’re able to do in future years.”
For Monroe, Alex Cave was force on both offense and defense. The junior made life difficult for the Monticello offense on more than a handful of sure kills, but even when she haphazardly swung at the ball in a last ditch effort, it seemed to stay alive and forced the Mustangs to run its offense one more time.
“That was a great team we just played, but I thought Alex was absolutely fabulous,” said Monroe coach Densie Hoffman. “I felt like the talking wasn’t where it quite should be, especially that first ball. We need to be calling that out and letting everyone else know who’s got it.”
Cave was equally effective on offense and led all hitters with her 14 kill performance. She also had seven digs. Kaitlyn Roach had five kills on the night. Haley Dodd finished with 16 assists.
Monroe finishes the year fourth in the standings and has earned a home game for the first round of the JD tourney on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Monticello’s second place finish guarantees it the same, also on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.