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Undermanned Molloy makes some improvements

It couldn’t get much worse for Archbishop Molloy. Senior captain Ariella Levine was home with tonsillitis and star sophomore libero Jenna Hoffman had to leave the first set with a wrist injury. On top of that, the Stanners were getting blown out early against Fontbonne Hall.

To their credit, though, they made a match of it. Hoffman wrapped up her wrist, Molloy kept the second set close and won the third. It wasn’t enough in a 25-14, 25-23, 17-25, 25-20 loss to Fontbonne in CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls’ volleyball Friday in Bay Ridge. But it was better than the Stanners’ performance against the Bonnies last week.

“I saw a lot more this time around,” Molloy Assistant Coach Rose Ruesing said. “I think the girls left everything on the floor.”

The second set was a killer for the Stanners. Molloy (3-3) was up 20-19 when a long rally — the lengthiest of the match by far — could have gone either way. It ended with a Stanners error and seemed to change the complexion of the set and even the match.

“Rallies like that are a momentum swing,” Ruesing said. “It was a giant letdown. That was the turning point of the game.”

Molloy lost the second set, but did win the third — the same way it did against St. Francis Prep last Thursday. Sophomore outside hitter Madeline Casello was the hero Friday with a 9-0 service run that turned a 13-all tie into a 22-13 lead for the Stanners. She had a great all-around performance with eight aces, seven kills and nine digs.

The Stanners could not keep the pressure on the Bonnies in the fourth set, though. Fontbonne led almost the entire way.

“I wish we would have won the second set, but at the same time we should have come back in the fourth set,” senior outside hitter Kate Mulvihill said.

She finished with 10 kills, sophomore setter Anna Pastina had 21 assists and Hoffman, fighting through an injury she first sustained against Prep, was a force in the back with 14 digs. Ruesing admitted the team was really missing Levine and her leadership during its most important stretch of the season.

“When you’re playing,” she said, “sometimes the emotions can get the best of you.”

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