Fort Hamilton claims Class A crown for third-straight city volleyball title

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Marlena Budna’s trademark shot sends the volleyball down to the court hard and fast, but the most important shot of her career was nothing like that.

“It was a slow ball,” said the Fort Hamilton senior middle hitter of the shot that clinched the school’s first Public School Athletic League Class A girls’ volleyball city title on Nov. 25. Even she didn’t think it was going to drop in and win the match.

“I thought they would play it,” Budna said. “It ended really quickly.”

When it landed, Budna put her hand in the air and was rushed by her teammates to celebrate No. 4 Fort Hamilton’s 25–23, 25–15 victory over No. 6 Susan Wagner at Hunter College last week.

The Tigers won a third-straight city crown after winning the Class B crown the last two seasons. Fort Hamilton was talented enough to play in the top division last year, but were not moved up by the league.

“To win three city championships in a row — it was just unbelievab­le,” Budna said. “It is the best feeling as a volleyball player.”

Wagner, which upset No. 2 Midwood in the semifinals, put up a major fight in the first set. The Falcons (18–1) led 15–9 before Fort Hamilton (13–1) began to play more cohesively. The Tigers scored seven of the next eight points to tie the score at 16–16. Alexandra Rivera and Maria Papadakos used their height to block numerous Wagner shot attempts to change the momentum.

“We didn’t play with heart,” junior setter Stephanie Rozek said. “We took a time out and said it was all about heart. You can fix your passes.”

Budna and Rozek took it from there, keeping Wagner from getting control despite leads of 22–20 and 23–22. Budna had a kill to tie the score at 22–22. She also had a hand in four of Fort Hamilton’s final five points of the set. She has shown the knack to close out teams throughout all three of the Tigers’ championship runs.

“She has a nose for the ball, a flair for the dramatic,” said Fort Hamilton coach Richard Sherry.

Fort Hamilton looked more like itself in the second set and left little doubt of the match’s outcome. Hitters Emily Visintini and Alexandra Rivera started to get in rhythm. The Tigers kept the Falcons defense off balance and allowed Budna to have a more consistent impact on the match. A well-placed kill from Rozek put things out of reach at 21–13.

Budna finished with 17 kills and seven digs and Rivera added 10 kills and five blocks. Rozek dished out 20 assists.

Sherry said he and the girls’ ultimate goal was never titles when he took over 2008, but just working as hard as he and the players could to improve. This particular group he knew was special, and all the hours on the court at practice, league games and tournaments led to winning at the highest level.

“It all paid off,” Rozek said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: