The injury-riddled Fontbonne Hall Bonnies lost its season series to the Archbishop Molloy Stanners Friday, when it dropped three out of five to the Queens squad in Briarwood.
Playing with a depleted lineup and players forced out of position, Fontbonne fell, 13–25, 25–19, 23–25, 25–20, and 8–25, the second time in two weeks the squad went five sets with Molloy winning both, and sweeping three sets with the Bonnies.
Still, Fontbonne players were pleased with their effore, considering the circumstances.
“It says we have the fight in us,” senior Siobhan Sammon said. “We can do it with or without the full team and we all can dig within ourselves.”
Injuries have Fontbonne’s 12-player roster down to eight. The Bonnies played without 6-foot middle hitter Deirdre McCool, who was sick, which resulted in a reshuffling of the lineup. And outside hitter Casey McDade is out with an ankle injury, which she is expected to return from next week.
To compensate, Fontbonne head coach Linda Strong moved her middles hitter to the back row to help with the passing. Fontbonne (3–6) played without a true libero as Sammon moved to the outside. The changes took its toll in the first game, when Molloy (8–2) jumped ahead 12–2 and never looked back.
“The first game they were a little confused with their positions,” Strong said. “Then they figured it out.”
From there it was a back and forth battle. Fontbonne won the second set and led the third 19–18 after an ace by junior Kristen Sullivan, who was superb on both sides of the ball. Strong serving by Sammon got Fontbonne as close at 24–23 late, but a Bonnies’ blocker made contact with the net on a Molloy kill attempt to give the Stanners the set.
Unfazed, Fontbonne continued to fight. Behind the serving of freshman Emily Greenstein, the Bonnies staved off a potential Molloy late rally in the fourth set and took advantage of their opponent’s mistakes. The Stanners ran out to a 9–1 lead in the fifth set as Sammon said her team was tired. The lopsided ending didn’t temper her enthusiasm for how her team played.
“I think we are right there with them,” Sammon said.
Strong is also encouraged by the play of her team, despite the injuries and the fact that Fontbonne is starting three freshmen. It took Molloy, the diocesan runner up, to five sets twice and five-time defending diocesan champion St. Francis Prep once. The Bonnies also lost to St. Francis Prep 3-1 earlier this week.
It has Strong believing her team will be right there when the playoffs some around.
“I’m still thinking we are going to be in the final,” Strong said. “We are growing and getting better everyday.”
Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.