WAYNE – Gabby Monetti had a plan for Oak Knoll’s swim team in the NJSIAA Non-Public B semifinal on Wednesday. Monetti, her co-captain Kathleen Miszkiewicz, and freshman Lindsay Criqui, took Royals head coach Kelly Hall’s meet sheet, and tweaked it just a little bit. They debated who should swim which events to give Oak Knoll the best chance of defeating Villa Walsh.
The plan worked perfectly, as the Royals came up with a 88-82 victory.
Oak Knoll will swim top-seeded Pingry in the NJSIAA Non-Public B final, the first of five championship meets on Sunday at The College of New Jersey.
“We figured, ‘This is what needs to happen for us to win,'” said Monetti, a Morristown resident. “I was not nervous. For my race, I was nervous, but it was good nerves. … This is the best feeling in the world. Being a senior, this is the best way to end. I can’t even describe it, I’m so happy.”
Villa Walsh’s Allison Morel swims the 100 breast stroke during the NJSIAA Non-Public B semifinal against Oak Knoll, Wednesday, February 18, 2015, at Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, NJ.
Villa Walsh started things off with a victory in the medley relay, the same race it has dominated at the Morris County and NJISAA Championships for two years. The Vikings kept the lead after Alison Pigott and Blair Boyle took second and third in the 200 free – and Rebecca Morel finished second to Miszkiewicz in the IM.
Gabby Monetti and her fraternal twin, Alex Monetti, went 1-2 in the 50 free as Oak Knoll tied the meet at the break.
That’s precisely when Villa Walsh started turning up the pressure. Allison Morel, Carolyn Silverman and Claire Wilson went 2-3-4 in the butterfly behind Criqui. Rebecca Morel won the 100 free by two lengths, and Pigott took first in the 500 free for a four-point lead.
With the swimmers peeking at a small board displaying the score, Oak Knoll swept the last four races, with Olivia Lamb of Madison first in breaststroke. Silverman and Feeney took second and third in backstroke the Vikings.
Villa Walsh needed to win the 400 free relay, but came up second.
It is the third straight year the Vikings have qualified for a NJSIAA Non-Public B semifinal, but they have yet to win. They fell to Pingry in 2013, and Oak Knoll the year before.
“We put up a good fight,” said Allison Morel, a senior, pointing out that the Vikings got the fifth-place point in all but one race. “We knew it was going to be really close. It really doesn’t come down to the last race, but we knew, theoretically, it would come down to that. A lot of our races, our fastest people were matched up against theirs, so you can’t really predict. You have to do your best.”
Oak Knoll 88, Villa Walsh 82
Medley relay: Villa Walsh (Carolyn Silverman, Rebecca Morel, Allison Morel, Caroline Feeney) 1:52.27; 200 freestyle: Margie Keenan (OK) 2:00.96; 200 IM: Kathleen Miszkiewicz (OK) 2:08.19; 50 freestyle: Gabby Monetti (OK) 26.01; 100 butterfly: Lindsay Criqui (OK) 26.01; 100 freestyle: R. Morel (VW) 55.36; 500 freestyle: Alison Pigott (VW) 5:31.79; 200 free relay: Oak Knoll (G. Monetti, Criqui, Keenan, Miszkiewicz) 1:43.54; 100 backstroke: Miszkiewicz (OK) 58.0; 100 breaststroke: Olivia Lamb (OK) 1:09.87; 400 free relay: Oak Knoll (Criqui, Keenan, Audrey Picut, Miskiewicz) 3:47.08.
Site of meet: Passaic Tech. Distances in yards. Team records: Oak Knoll 10-2, Villa Walsh 5-3-1.