Falcons take step backward

By: Rich Fisher
   Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it eventually got built thanks to some hard work.
   Leigh Vogtman does not expect the Monroe girls basketball program to be built in a day either, but realizes the same kind of hard work must go into whatever will be built by she and her staff.
   Which is why the first-year head coach was disappointed in the Falcons 52-20 home loss to South Plainfield Tuesday night. Granted, the Tigers are one of the top teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference’s White Division, but Vogtman was not concerned about being out-talented.
   Out-hustled, however, is another story.
   "Today we had no spunk, nothing," Vogtman said. "Every game up until now, we competed. Today it seemed like we didn’t have any sort of energy. We came out very flat and that was how the rest of the game went."
   The Falcons best quarter was their first, when they were outscored 19-11. Monroe could not equal that total in the next three quarters combined as its record sunk to 1-6 heading into Thursday’s game at Woodbridge.
   Vogtman understands that her squad will have trouble matching up with the big guns in the GMC when it comes to talent, and she can accept that. But she expects her team to play as hard as possible each time out.
   "I’ve never seen the look on their faces like ‘Oh we’re gonna lose this game,’" Vogtman said. "Every game, they’ve come in with the attitude they’re going to play their best. Up until now, they have. They’ve given their best. Yeah, we’ve lacked in free throw percentage, and had turnovers and missed layups here and there. But today, every aspect of the game we didn’t play our best.
   "When they do give 100 percent it’s amazing, the things they can do. But they don’t believe it."
   The coach tried mixing and matching her lineup throughout the night, just to get some energy. With Lindsey Curran out with the stomach flu, Sarah Gibbons was elevated to varsity, along with forward Katie Guidi.
   "We needed another guard, and Gibbons held her own," Vogtman said. "Guidi has some nice size and I’d like to see her develop."
   And while Vogtman is keeping an eye on her younger players, she has not given up on her veterans.
   "I told them (after the game) I’m looking for five players who want to play," she said. "I have confidence in the five starters I have, but we have to see more effort. They’ve showed me at different times they could do things, but it has to be on a more consistent basis.
   "It was nice to snap our losing streak (against JFK Dec. 22), but then we have to go forward and get more wins. We shouldn’t be content with just one. But the season’s still young, and we’re growing."
   BUZZER BEATERS: Carly Keane was the team’s leading scorer against South Plainfield with six points, all in the first quarter. Lisa Cosentino added five . . . Monroe fell to Perth Amboy, 73-48, last Thursday. Keane led the way with 13, and Mai’Lee Paselio and Marissa Allamby had nine each.