Hurricane Sandy has left most of Fontbonne Hall’s varsity girls volleyball team — and its coach — homeless, but the athletes say the games must go on.
All but one of the 11 players from the Bay Ridge school live in the decimated Queens neighborhoods of Breezy Point and Belle Harbor — which Hurricane Sandy hit the hardest — as does coach Linda Strong.
Strong and junior Casey McDade saw their houses go up in smoke in the Breezy Point wildfire that took out more than 50 homes, while the rest of the athletes suffered major flooding, forcing them to seek refuge with family and friends throughout the area.
It’s been a scary and uneasy situation for all involved, they say.
“We just want to go home,” said junior captain Kristin Sullivan, who is staying with the family of varsity basketball coach Steve Oliver. “Breezy is such a close community and we all love each other.”
McDade’s mother, Amy, echoed Sullivan’s anxieties.
“We don’t know where we are going to go,” said the woman whose family — now temporarily relocated on Long Island — had to flee their burning home on surfboards and a kayak.“Every place we call for a rental is taken.”
School officials left the decision to compete in the division final up to the girls, who opted to play ball.
The team showed strength and resolve in the face of disaster, said athletic director Donna Schirripa.
“Emotionally, each girl is dealing with a different tragedy,“ she said.
“That can be a good thing on the court or it can become a disaster, but they all felt this was something they needed to do. This is their first step forward,” she explained.
There’s comfort in taking to the court as a unified team, say the volleyballers.
“I just want to be with my friends right now,” Sullivan explained. “We are all scattered everywhere.”
Families of soccer players Cindy Henderson, Kristen Corral, and Brittany Scheriff were also flooded out of their homes, said coach Victor Popovsky.
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.