Mike Dougherty’s game story follows with some extra notes. Photos are by Chris Kitchen. At right: Bailey McCollum drives past Lansing’s Madeline Boerman. Below: Hannah Monteleone moves with ball. –Nancy
CORTLAND – The ball was in the air for a long time.
Allie Monteleone got a defender on her left hip, turned and fired. The shot from some 25 yards out was perfect, arcing over the goalkeeper and curling inside the far post. Monteleone watched anxiously, waiting for the whistle before the arms went up in celebration.
It was exactly the right play at exactly the right time.
Haldane rarely had momentum, but a stubborn defense made the goal stand up, giving the Blue Devils a 1-0 win over Lansing on Sunday in the NYSPHSAA Class C championship game at Cortland State.
“The goalie came off her line and I guess I realized it at the right time and took the shot,” said Monteleone, who scored 13 minutes into the second half. “I honestly didn’t think it was going in. I was trying to get it back post for Marina (Martin) to get it, but it got in and it was such a great feeling.”
After coming up one win short a year ago, Haldane (16-4) came in determined to capture an elusive state title with a roster dominated by underclassmen.“It’s amazing,” Blue Devils sweeper Missy Lisikatos. “We lost in this game last year, so coming back and winning feels great.”
The Bobcats (13-4) were looking for revenge after losing to Haldane in the semifinals last fall.
Getting organized was a problem for the Blue Devils early on. The jitters were obvious. Lansing was getting more scoring chances.
“They were carrying the play but we weathered the storm,” Haldane coach Gary Van Asselt said. “I can’t say enough about what our defense was able to do. They made the stops we had to have. They made the plays we had to have. And that’s why we’re state champs.”
Lisikatos was a thorn in the side of the Bobcats, ending run after run with her aggressive play on the ball.
Notes: Haldane had only three seniors. Allie Monteleone, who’ll play college basketball, is one and she was happy to exit on top. “It’s awesome. I’ve been to the states five times in the last six years and this is the first time we’ve ever won. It’s a great feeling. We wanted it so bad this year. After losing in the championship last year, we never wanted to feel anything like that again.” … Van Asselt, who commented, “The best team won,” said earlier in the playoffs that he’d asked Monteleone to put the team on her shoulders.
Lisikatos is a fan of her teammate, saying of the goal and of Monteleone, “It was a great shot. It was perfect, right where she needed to put it. She has a sense of leadership because she’s been here before. She’s done it all before. She’s athletic. She just knows how to play the game. ” … Asselt said of his team, ” It’s about heart and these guys have it. They’re games. The whole team is a bunch of gamers. They stepped up.”