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Kelly Flynn sat out practice last week and missed the semifinals against Mary Louis due to a mild concussion.
So how did she celebrate her return in the finals? By landing on a Molloy player’s foot and turning her ankle just minutes into the match.
“First game back and down I go,” Flynn said with a laugh.
The junior middle hitter returned later in the set and more than made up for lost practice time. Flynn had 18 kills and five blocks to help lead St. Francis Prep to a 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20 victory over rival Archbishop Molloy to win a fifth straight CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I girls’ volleyball championship Nov. 2 in Fresh Meadows.
“That girl is Wonder Woman,” SFP senior outside hitter Talia Colasante said. “She did really good even though she hasn’t practiced in a week before two days ago. If Kelly didn’t practice at all, she’d be up there. We all have faith in Kelly.”
It was the typical, epic back-and-forth match between the two teams, who met three times previously with two of those also going five sets. St. Francis (12-1) had to fight back from down 2-1 in sets and an 18-14 deficit in the fifth to beat scrappy Molloy (10-3). Flynn had a block followed by a kill to get SFP within 18-17 and then later made it 23-20 with a crushing kill in front of a standing room-only crowd at St. Francis.
“I felt it, but it’s just the kind of thing that I had to push through,” Flynn said of her ankle. “I wanted this game so badly, as did everyone else. And there was nothing that was going to get in our way of it.”
Colasante, one of the city’s best outside hitters, finished with 22 kills, including the match’s final one, which happened to be considerably softer than her typical booming attacks. Kiara Pierre made a nice play to get to the ball, setting from her knees to Colasante, who simply flipped the ball into the middle of the Molloy defense.
“I was aiming for the [middle], because usually that works and I was hoping I’d catch [Molloy star libero] Jenna [Hoffman] off guard, which rarely happens,” Colasante said.
Added Terriers Coach Kevin Colucci, laughing: “Take the breaks. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don’t. We were fortunate to have it go our way this time.”
Pierre preceded that play with a back row kill to make it 24-21 and she had a floating service ace earlier that made it 21-19. The junior finished with 12 kills and five aces and Kendra McCalla had 47 assists. Pierre said her “heart stopped” when Flynn came up balky in the first set. Lucky for SFP, when she returned she was able to establish the middle and Molloy really didn’t have an answer.
“I knew it was gonna be tough for them to stop our middles,” Colucci said. “They dig everything. It’s a tough team to play against.”
Molloy, rife with juniors and sophomores, will be just as tough next year. That was no solace to the Stanners Nov. 1, though. There were tears of disappointment and missed opportunities on their faces.
“It’s so aggravating, because we had it,” said Molloy’s Emily Rabot, who had 15 kills and five aces. “It was right in our hands and we lost it. That’s just not how we play.”
St. Francis Prep, though, has become the city’s premier program over the past half-decade. Winning Brooklyn/Queens, the city’s top league, five years in a row is a significant accomplishment. The Terriers will now compete in the CHSAA Class AA state tournament Nov. 12 in Buffalo.
“It just means that we have the most drive, that we just wanted it more than anyone else did,” Flynn said. “We weren’t [going to] let anyone stop us or let anything get in our way. Nothing at all.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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