This time last year, nearly all the members of the Fontbonne Hall girl’s volleyball team were out of their homes because of Hurricane Sandy.
A year later, the Bonnies embodied the spirit of their community by returning even stronger than before, reaching its first Brooklyn-Queens final in three years.
But despite strong play, the Bonnies fell, 25–18, 25–18, 25–14 to perennial power St. Francis Prep on Monday night at Christ the King. Terriers star Jaclyn LaForgia and her 24 kills were too much to overcome, but the Bonnies put up a valiant effort.
“Knowing that all of us were back home really helped us,” senior outside hitter Kristen Sullivan said. “We wanted to show that Sandy wasn’t going to stop us this year.”
Sullivan led the team with 10 kills, 16 digs and two blocks. Her hustle and heart are nothing new to her coach.
“She’s been awesome,” Fontbonne coach Linda Strong said. “She’s the captain of the team and kudos to her. She’s done a great job all season. She’s a great team leader.”
The turning point of the match came in the second set. Fontbonne (5–5) fell behind 6–0 to start. They rallied to bring the score to 14-13 and seemingly scored the tying point when it appeared St. Francis Prep’s Johairy Rivadeneira hit the ball long.
The Bonnies began to celebrate only to see the official rule that the ball was tipped by a Fontbonne player and instead the point to the Terriers.
The call quickly changed the momentum. St. Francis Prep (10–0) scored six straight points to help win the set, and take its seventh-straight crown. Strong felt the call was a big turning point in the match.
“I didn’t see the block,” the coach said. “I think that we were point-for-point with them then, so it takes the wind out of your sails when you have a bad call like that.”
Fontbonne received strong play across its lineup. Emily Greenstein tallied three kills, five digs, three blocks and an ace. Bryn Nagel chipped in six digs and eight assists. Caroline Kane, the libero, led the team with 25 digs and Francesca Castellano recorded 15 digs.
Fontbonne has a chance to build off its success this year. They return a great deal of their roster, including Castellano, Kane and Greenstein, who are sophomores.
“We’re young,” Strong said, confidently. “I had three sophomore starters. That’s unbelievable.”