Linda Strong found out something about her team Saturday. When her Fontbonne Hall team doesn’t know the team on the other side of the court, the Bonnies get back on their heels and don’t play their best. When it’s a familiar name? That’s when they turn it up a notch.
“If they know the other team, they’re much more apt to play well,” the coach said. “When they don’t know the team, they kind of sit back a little bit. I told them, ‘You’re screw balls, all of you.’”
Luckily for Fontbonne, there was recognition down the stretch of Tottenville’s Robert Kronisch Memorial Tournament. The Bonnies defeated No. 7 Midwood, a team that it has scrimmaged this year, 13-25, 25-21, 25-19, to win the championship after defeating No. 5 Susan Wagner, another familiar foe, 25-21, 25-22, in the semifinals.
It marked Fontbonne’s first tournament victory in its only tournament of the season. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect with the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I playoffs starting this week and the state playoffs less than a month away.
“I realized that we went to states [last year] our middles were exhausted at the end of the day,” Strong said. “They needed this.”
One of those middles, junior Lauren Ganun, was named Fontbonne’s most valuable player of the tournament. She had six kills, two blocks and three aces against Midwood in the finals and nine kills, two blocks and two aces against Wagner in the semis. Strong thought junior setter Katie Lang was equally deserving. She had 16 assists against Midwood and 18 versus Wagner.
“All around, she was phenomenal,” the coach said.
Senior middle Amanda Glodowski had three kills and four blocks in the final and sophomore Siobhan Sammon had four aces and six digs. In the semis, Glodowski had six blocks, four kills and three aces, senior Brianna Johnston had six digs and four aces and junior Mary Kate Nestor had five aces and four digs.
Fontbonne will meet the winner of a match between Archbishop Molloy and Bishop Loughlin in Thursday’s Brooklyn/Queens semifinals at Loughlin. Strong is pleased with her team after Saturday especially following a disappointing scrimmage versus Cardozo last week.
“Did we hit our peak [when we took a set from] St. Francis Prep and now we’re coming down?” Strong asked her players. “I think that worried them a little bit.”
Things are on the right track now.
Notes: Midwood beat Tottenville, 25-20, 25-19, in the other semifinal. Hornets senior middle hitter Shannon Appel was named team most valuable player and also given the Kronisch sportsmanship award. Midwood finished a perfect 8-0 in pool play, sweeping Wagner (6-2), Bayside (3-5), McKee/Staten Island Tech (3-5) and Construction (0-8). … Wagner senior Emily Burke and Tottenville junior Sarah Shin were both named their team’s respective MVP. … In the other pool, Fontbonne (7-1) dropped a set to Tottenville (6-2), which fell in a set to Curtis (2-6). Bronx Science finished third with a 3-5 record and New Dorp was 2-6. … The tournament is named after Robert Kronisch, a PSAL official who died in 2003.