Molloy overcomes Fontbonne rally for spot in final

Archbishop Molloy celebrates after beating Fontbonne Hall Academy in the semifinals. Photo by Lauren Marsh
TimesLedger Newspapers

The play was over. The volleyball seemed to touch the floor. Most players would have given up.

Not Jenna Hoffman.

A Fontbonne Hall attack was dug up by Tori Taibe and Katherine Kilkenny dived back to somehow keep it alive. From the back row, Hoffman charged, sprawled out and punched the ball over the net. The Bonnies were caught off guard and it fell for a kill for the 4-foot-11 libero.

“Just seeing two people make such a great up just made me feel like, ‘I gotta get this ball,’” Hoffman said. “And I got it over.”

The point stopped a run and Molloy ended up winning that fourth set and the match against Fontbonne 25-13, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21 in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls’ volleyball semifinals last Thursday night in Briarwood. The victory sends the Stanners into the finals against the winner of the St. Francis Prep/Mary Louis match at SFP.

“She never gives up,” junior outside hitter Maddie Casello said of Hoffman. “That’s what Molloy is. We never give up and we prove everyone wrong.”

Hoffman got the kill, but Taibe, coming off the bench, made an outstanding pancake dig and Kilkenny sacrificed her body to bump the ball up. The point gave Molloy (10-2) a 13-10 lead in the fourth set. Hoffman had two straight aces later to make it 20-13 and Kilkenny had two big kills, including the match winner.

“I guess that kind of symbolizes everything we’ve talked about this year, about it being a team effort,” Stanners assistant Coach Rose Ruesing said of the wild play.

Casello had 15 kills, Lauren Pagan had 10 kills and Hoffman had 20 digs for Molloy. Amanda Price had 25 assists and 13 digs, Emily Rabot had four aces and Hoffman, Pagan, Kilkenny and Price all had three aces.

“Jenna just throws herself on the floor and then we all have a job,” Casello said. “Jenna plays her defense and our job as hitters is just to kill. You put it all together and it’s like a puzzle.”

“Last time they wanted it more than we did,” Casello said of Fontbonne. “No one wants to win and go in to play [in the championship] the way we do. We really wanted it. By the way we played today, we proved it.”

Lauren Ganun had 10 kills, Kristen Sullivan had eight kills and Victoria Starace had seven kills for the Bonnies. Katie Lang had 25 assists. Due to traffic and inclement weather, it took Fontbonne more than two hours to get to Molloy from Bay Ridge and the Bonnies looked flat early.

The Stanners will move on, though.

“After that tiebreaker with Prep, we felt like we were kind of dead that game,” Hoffman said. “We were like angry. We have a lot of determination to get back out there and we want to win the championship really bad.”

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