Montville girls volleyball defeats Morristown in Morris County Tournament semifinal

Montville girls volleyball defeats Morristown in Morris County Tournament semifinal

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Montville girls volleyball defeats Morristown in Morris County Tournament semifinal

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SUCCASUNNA

Nicole Dvoretsky was nervous on Saturday afternoon. After all, the Montville volleyball team had never been to the Morris County Tournament semifinal before.

But the Mustangs stuck to their routine, even if the ride to Roxbury felt a little bit longer than usual.

The players pumped each other up, said what they had to do in the semifinal, held each other’s hands, and cheered. Then Montville dismantled Morristown, 25-9, 20-25, 25-18, on Saturday to advance to the final.

The second-seeded Mustangs, who had defeated four-time defending champion West Morris in a quarterfinal last weekend, are enjoying their trip to uncharted territory.

They will play Mendham in the MCT final on Saturday night back at Roxbury. The Minutemen defeated Madison 25-17, 25-17 in the second semifinal doubleheader.

“It’s never happened in Montville history,” said Dvoretsky, a senior setter who had 27 assists in the semifinal. “It’s just amazing. … The fact that we made the final blows my mind.”

The Mustangs’ path seemed smooth at first, as young Morristown seemed to be overwhelmed by the raucous crowd. But the Colonials regrouped for the second game, “turning that switch on,” according to junior outside hitter Judy Errichetti.

Morristown, the 11th seed, defeated Parsippany in the first round, then upset No. 6 Mount Olive and third-seeded Chatham — each in three games — to reach the semifinal round for the third straight year.

“After that first game, I’m really happy with how we played,” said Errichetti, who had 10 kills and seven digs. “We got it going.”

Added Morristown coach Bill Condon, “They, all of a sudden, realized they could play with (Montville). They played their hearts out in the third match.”

But once again, Montville was able to run out to a quick lead, getting to 11-2 before Morristown regained the ball on a crosscourt kill from outside hitter Fara Cohen. Abby Schubiger, a 6-foot middle hitter, accounted for two of the Colonials’ next three points.

Then it was Montville’s turn to make uncharacteristic errors, allowing Morristown to come within five — and then four — points, when head coach Pat Lyons called timeout. Senior outside hitter Bria Corham tipped the ball for a point, and junior Megan Braden wiped a kill off a block as the Mustangs stabilized. Corham finished with 11 kills and six digs. Braden added 16 kills and three digs.

“It’s amazing,” said Corham, one of eight seniors on the Montville varsity. “This is our last chance to make something big of the program. I didn’t expect to fall so flat in the second game, but we got our energy back. It was starting fresh, no score. We got a lead early on, and it helped us out.”

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