by Andrew Garda

CALDWELL—The Montclair High School girl’s volleyball team fell in straight sets Tuesday afternoon, losing to No. 2 seed Mount St. Dominic.

The No. 7 seed Mounties lost the first set 25-13, never finding their rhythm and never recovering to catch up. The second set started out more positively as the Mounties kept pace with The Mount. The lead switched back and forth several times, but Mount St. Dominic slowly began to pull away.

MHS kept battling and there were strong finishes by the likes of Rebecca Herrick, Annura Hamilton and Zelidad Castillo, but the Mounties never could catch up completely, and much of the time it was their own fault.

There were numerous balls hit into the net, or mis-hit in general, unforced errors that gave a point and often the serve as well, when the Mounties looked to be making a run.

“Execution or lack thereof has been our nemesis the entire year,” coach Pam Reilly said after the loss. “And as a coach you work on these things in practice but at the end of the day, your players have to perform. They won, but we gave them numerous opportunities to win and they took advantage of them.

“We get opportunities sometimes and we don’t take advantage of them.”

This was absolutely the case with Tuesday’s game. MHS would be on the verge of a run when they would turn the ball over.

The Mounties closed the gap to 17-16 but an unforced error turned the serve over and Mt. Saint Dominic went on an 8-2 run which ended the game.

Reilly was frustrated with her team, their mistakes and most importantly, their lack of focus.

“Same thing I’ve said all year. You can’t go to a gym and expect someone to just lay down for you. You have to play. We have to play every single point and we didn’t play every single point today. That’s the difference between us winning and moving on and us not.”

Now the Mounties must wait for their seeding in the NJSIAA state tournament, which was released Wednesday after press time,, and wonder what they can do to improve.

Reilly feels as though this loss represents a missed opportunity.

“This is a senior-laden team,” Reilly said. “My expectations are for us to come in here, show up, play and give them a run for their money. We kinda, sorta did but then we went back to the old way of playing. We’re hesitant, we’re not confident, whatever it is.

“And this is all mental, so it’s frustrating because I really don’t know how to put that into them. If I knew how, I’d be a millionairess because I’d say ‘Hey coach, this is how you get your players to be fearsome, not scared.’”

The Mounties will open Group IV state tournament play this coming Tuesday, Oct. 31, with state playoff games to potentially follow on Nov. 2, Nov. 4, Nov. 8 and the Group IV championship match on Nov. 11.