Molloy tops Bonnies in five-set thiller

Brooklyn Daily
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A dramatic comeback attempt wasn’t enough to please Fontbonne Hall volleyball coach Linda Strong.

The Bonnies lost the first two sets to visiting Archbishop Molloy, even after leading big in the second frame. They rallied to tie things up, but couldn’t finish the job and eventual fell, 15–25, 24–26, 25–21, 25–22, 15–25 in Catholic High School Athletic Association Brooklyn-Queens volleyball Monday night. Strong felt it shouldn’t have even come to that in Fontbonne’s second five-set loss to Molloy this season.

“I thought they played horrible,” she said. “They didn’t want to hit the ball. The other team hit everything that went up in the air. They were waiting for the perfect set all the time.”

When the Bonnies (4–3) did feed their hitters in the third and fourth sets, they thrived. Senior Kristen Sullivan and sophomores Francesca Castellano and Emily Greenstein consistently finished their chances. Strong though they should have been even more aggressive in attacking the Stanners defense and not just settling for getting the ball over the net, and Castellano agreed.

“We could have been a lot better than we played,” Castellano said.

Still, she and her teammates never gave up — even after Molloy (5–1) rallied from 18–13 down to win the second set. Fontbonne adjusted and handled the Stanners serves better going forward, especially libero Caroline Kane. The junior made numerous diving digs to keep points alive.

“During the end of the second set we were like, ‘we have to get our heads in the game,’ ” Greenstein said.

The Bonnies fended off Molloy rallies in the third and fourth sets. Greenstein and Castellano each put down kills to secure the win in the third. A Molloy hitting error and a Sullivan kill, plus Sullivan and Deirdre McCool combining to put a ball down right at the net closed out the fourth and forced a deciding fifth.

Fontbonne was down just 14–13 before Molloy took control of the final frame. The Stanners Ally Kalesin, who had struggled to finish most of the match, recorded three straight kills during a 7–0 service run from Emily Rabot. By the time the Bonnies got back on the board, they trailed 22–13 and couldn’t manage another rally.

Fontbonne still believes with some fine-tuning it can get over the hump against Molloy next time the rivals meet.

“It’s not impossible to beat them,” Greenstein said. “I feel like we are at the same level as them. We beat ourselves there a little bit.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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