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14-year Tiger reign ends%A0

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The streak is over.

Bishop Kearney’s stranglehold on CHSAA Brooklyn came to an end Wednesday, courtesy of a 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-12 loss to Fontbonne Hall in Bensonhurst. The Tigers had not lost a league game in 14 years. The streak had reached 183 matches.

But maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

“I know when I saw the scoreboard [in the fourth set], I was thinking about the streak,” Kearney senior middle hitter Christina Shalhoub said.

She will never have to worry about that again. The monkey is off the Tigers’ backs, so to speak. And if coach Kristin Wulff is looking for a positive in Wednesday’s loss, that might be it.

“That’s done and over with now,” she said. “I never really held it in such high regard anyway.”

That’s because Kearney, though Brooklyn’s dominant team for the better part of two decades, has not won a Brooklyn/Queens championship in a long time. Queens has dominated the league for about 10 years. Wulff said in the preseason that the streak meant nothing unless the Tigers improved.

Worse more, she feared complacency last week when her team dropped a set to Stella Maris and the players weren’t upset about it because the streak was still intact.

“Hopefully, this is going to fuel them and make them work harder,” the coach said. “They’re definitely bitter and angry.”

Kearney (4-1) seemed fine in the first set. The Tigers’ passing was on and they were able to get the ball to their big swingers. That carried over into the second set, but they coughed up a big lead and Fontbonne was able to build momentum. The last two sets were a mess %u2013 seemingly nothing went right for Kearney.

“Their mindset was panic,” Wulff said.

Added Shalhoub: “We were really off. We were getting mad at each other.”

Perhaps the pressure of the streak was getting to them? Shalhoub wouldn’t concede that much.

“We were going to lose some time,” she said. “After 100 and something wins, we have to lose at some point.”

All is not lost, of course. Kearney should be fine against the rest of its league schedule before playing Fontbonne (6-0) again Oct. 22, the final day of the regular season. Wulff hopes this could be a wake-up call; Shalhoub is confident her team will be motivated.

“When we play Fontbonne again, we’ll be giving them more than 100 percent,” Shalhoub said. %u2026 “We feel like we just gave it to them.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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