by Alexa Maldonado '17
On Saturday, April 16, 10 softball teams from Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn came together to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research. Fontbonne Hall Academy raised $900 to donate to the cause.
Fontbonne’s varsity team played two games, the first against St. Joseph by the Sea and the second against St. John Villa. In the first game, Fontbonne was able to pull ahead. With bases loaded and two outs, freshman Alexa Bertelle hit a single up the middle which drove in two runs. Senior pitcher, Bianca Marletta, was able to hold down the opposing team for the rest of the game leading Fontbonne to a 6-2 victory.
In the second game, Fontbonne could not catch up to Villa’s nine runs even after Gabi Casagrande and Emily Manti hit consecutive home runs to Villa’s center fielder. The final score was 9-4.
Head coach, Frank Marinello, stated that it was a huge day for the girls.
“The girls really bonded around the cause. They took it to heart and it really showed through their performance on the field. They played with emotion in order to support a great cause.”
Prior to Fontbonne’s first game, varsity catcher, Manti, received the first pitch thrown out by Fontbonne’s physical education teacher, and breast cancer survivor, Mrs. Proseus.
“I bring my team back to this tournament every year because I coach women. It’s important that if one of our ladies get affected, they can get the proper resources that they need,” stated Coach Marinello when asked why he is a huge supporter of St. Joseph’s tournament.
Between the 10 teams, thousands of dollars were raised in order to raise awareness for the cancer that affects one in eight women in the United States alone.
For years, Fontbonne softball has been attending the St. Joseph by the Sea Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament in order to support breast cancer research. St. Joseph by the Sea decorates their entire 11 acre sporting complex in pink. They sell various baked goods, have a merchandise stand for their breast cancer products, and have an auction with over 35 chances at winning prizes.
By Jenna Borrelli '16
By Jenna Borrelli ‘16
While most students stayed in New York for Christmas recess, Fontbonne’s Varsity Basketball Team spent their break together in Tempe, Ariz. competing in the Cactus Jam Tournament. The girls played against three elite teams that were from Arizona, Washington and New York. They won their first two games and lost the third to the team from Long Island, placing second out of six teams in the tournament.
Many players enjoyed this experience because they enjoyed playing against challenging teams and touring the state of Arizona. During their free time, the team bought tickets to see an NBA game; the Phoenix Suns played against the Cleveland Cavaliers. They also went on a Pink Jeep tour through the red rock in Sedona, Ariz.
Sarah Sypa ‘16, center player, recalled her favorite memory from the trip, “My favorite memory was definitely the Jeep tour. It was really fun and the view was incredible, we all took really cool pictures too.” Another memorable moment was when two sophomores, Katie Marquardt ‘18 and Breanne McDonnell ‘18, won the MVP award of the tournament.
The varsity team, along with Coach Oliver, Coach Sammon and several parent chaperones, safely returned to New York on Dec. 31, 2015. Although many players would rather continue going to team dinners and hanging out by the pool, they were happy to be home to celebrate the new year.
Co-captain, Meagan McKenna ‘16, is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season, “Along with looking forward to New Year’s Eve, we were all looking forward to bringing the hard work we brought in Arizona to New York.”
The next Fontbonne Varsity Basketball game is a home game against Kearney on Jan. 11, 2016. One can hope the girls will bring the same dedication and motivation from the Cactus Jam Tournament to the Fontbonne gymnasium.
By Alexa Maldonado '17
Sleepovers have been popping up all over the Fontbonne community. First it was the juniors, now it’s the softball team. Both members of the JV and Varsity Softball Team slept overnight in Ms. Duggan’s room, 302. They were accompanied by varsity coaches, Frank Marinello and John Heinsch, as well as junior varsity coaches, Nicole Marinello and Dawn Duggan.
Across the hall, room 301 was filled with snacks. Some girls baked cookies and brownies, and some brought chips and popcorn. The night was spent playing board games, dancing to music, and reading the classic Christmas stories Twas’ the Night Before Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The night ended with the 24 girls laying down and having a movie marathon, which started with It’s a Wonderful Life.
Head coach, Marinello, thought of this great idea after hearing about the successful junior's sleepover, one month prior. He believed that this would be a great way to get the girls to bond. Everyone hung out with each other and Marinello made sure of it! During a game of Heads Up!™, Marinello made sure that every team member got a chance to play. The players also made sure he and Heinsch were included. Following Heads Up!™, the team proceeded into the courtyard to start a pickup game of volleyball. “Let’s just say, we should all stick to softball!”, said freshman Alexa Bertelle.
The goal of the sleepover was to form unbreakable bonds between the girls and the coaches. The result definitely met and exceeded that goal. “It was really great being able to spend the night with the whole team, it was the first time I’ve ever had a sleepover with them all,” says junior Emily Manti. For one freshman, the purpose left her mind. “I’m really happy that we spent a lot of time together, not only as a team, but as a family. Being a family is extremely important in order for us to function as one,” said freshman Liani Kane.
Coach Marinello was very happy with the outcome. He concludes, “It was a tremendous night for Fontbonne softball. It became an off-field activity. No one had to worry about anything softball related, it was all about having a good time and enjoying yourself. The night was a ‘no-worry’ night.”
Family is something that is always stressed once a person becomes part of the Fontbonne Softball Team. Players gain 20 sisters to do everything with. Performance suddenly relies on the eight other girls on that field. There is absolutely no way a team can succeed without becoming a family. The Fontbonne Softball Team has never felt like anything less than a sisterhood.
By Maria Hatziminadakis
Fontbonne’s Varsity Swim Team had a breathtaking season. The team is currently the undefeated Brooklyn champions. Even though the team has encountered many obstacles, they managed to cross the finish line. “Swimming is sometimes challenging when I get anxious during swim meets. When I get anxious I usually do not use the technique I would usually use, and I become slower. Also, I do not feel when I get extremely exhausted, and so not realize how tired I am until the middle of the race” says Sophia Venegas-Delval ’18. As Sophia expresses that swimming is challenging and can be extremely exhausting at times, she still keeps pushing forward.
Like Sophia, Fontbonne’s team is very dedicated and committed to their practices, no matter how challenging they can become. Since the coaches are so determine to make sure that the girls perform their absolute best, victory is easily seen for the team. “Overall though my coaches really help me out with my strokes and always make sure that I get better and always believe that I can do something. They are really supportive” says Margaret Arpaia ‘18. Margaret is devoted to swimming and is excelling in her field along with the guidance of her coaches. Head coach, Kathi Kocur, focuses on improving the girl's techniques. Sophia stated, “The team has gotten a lot better since I have started...our coaches are also very helpful in giving tips on how to be faster, and they are supportive even if we didn’t do well”. Sophia is proud to be a member of Fontbonne’s swim team and she appreciates the corrections from her peers and coaches.
What makes Fontbonne’s team different from others? Fontbonne’s team is a family. “There are a lot of things I love about Fontbonne’s swim team. I love being with my friends in the water and I find swimming to be a nice way to get my mind off of things. I also always loved to swim, being in the water is like being in another world. It's such an amazing feeling” Margaret stated.
By Christina Kefalas '18
One of Fontbonne’s most well-known sports, cheerleading, has become a phenomenon as one of the most competitive sports in the community. Practices four times a week consist of three hours of stunting, tumbling, dancing, and reciting chants. GCHSAA, Girls Catholic High School Athletic Association, is a competition that the team trains for all year. The cheerleaders also cheer at Xaverian football games to support our brother school. As the girls prepare for this year's competition, I had the chance to speak with the junior varsity captains, Olivia Cusumano and Angela Mancuso.
1. Would you say that cheerleading is a very intense and very time-consuming sport?
“We would say that cheerleading has definitely become a very serious part of our lives. We take this sport very seriously and are always trying to do our best. With constant practices, we are always working to be the best we can be and do our job as cheerleaders”, said JV captain, Olivia Cusamano.
2. What do you think your team's best qualities are?
“If I had to pick three of our team’s best qualities, I would say our perseverance, our dedication, and our ability to work as a team. We continue to strive for greatness and never give up. We work very well together as a team. Considering we are all very good friends, we work very hard and still have fun doing it”, said co-captain, Angela Mancuso.
3. Do you feel that cheerleaders should be treated like athletes? Why or Why not?
“Yes, we think that cheerleaders should be treated like athletes because cheerleading is now a sport. Also we train and practice hard like any other athletes. Just because we have to be smiling and peppy during our routines doesn't mean it isn't hard and isn't serious to us”, said Angela and Olivia.
4. Has being a Fontbonne cheerleader made you and your team more involved in our community?
“Being a Fontbonne cheerleader has made our team feel more connected to the Fontbonne community because we work together and build a special connection that others may not see around in school”, said Olivia. Angela continued, “Creating this special bond with our girls has made us closer as friends and more connected in our school community.”
5. Do you feel a sense of leadership to the younger girls on the team? How has being captains changed your team’s spirit and dedication to the sport?
Angela and Olivia both responded, “We feel a sense of leadership to the younger girls on the team because when they need help we assist them in any way we can. Sometimes they look to us to fix what needs improvement or ask us for advice. Being captains has changed our team's spirit and dedication to the sport because we work together and can be serious while having fun as well. We make sure that our team works together and works hard to accomplish our goals.”
By Jenna Borrelli '16
On Thursday, October 15, 2015, Fontbonne’s Varsity Volleyball Team crushed Saint Francis Prep once again. This game not only added to the team’s current undefeated season, 7-0, but it was also an important day for the seniors as their last home game. Head captain, Francesca Castellano ’16, experienced mixed emotions by the end of their victory. She said “it felt great beating Saint Francis Prep because of the ongoing rivalry, but at the same time it was so sad knowing that was my last time playing in the Fontbonne Gym." The other head captain, Emily Greenstein ‘16, also underwent similar feelings. Greenstein explains “I’ve been playing volleyball with these same six girls since our middle school team, and now our high school team...definitely an emotional game."
Most of the seniors had the same mindset as Castellano and Greenstein during that game, but the gloomy thoughts didn’t hold back our girls. They won all three of their games to twenty-five against Saint Francis Prep with no trouble. As Fontbonne’s Varsity Volleyball Team conquered the court that Thursday afternoon, they also introduced a new Senior Day tradition.
Every year, as one of the several Senior Day traditions, the Fontbonne mothers spend hours of their time creating a poster for their daughter, decorating it with glitter, ribbons, stickers, and sentimental photos. The photos used date back to each players freshman year season, sophomore year season, junior year season, up to their current senior year season. Since the personalized poster was primarily each mother’s contribution, the newly created tradition involved each players father. After Coach Linda presented each Saint Francis Prep senior with a single rose, honoring their hard work and dedication to their school team, the Fontbonne fathers honored their own daughters extraordinary skills. The Fontbonne fathers surprised their little girls by presenting them with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. After, each mother joined in so a family photo could be captured. The varsity team hopes this newly added tradition continues to be carried out for future Senior Days. Bryn Nagel ‘16, varsity setter, loved the idea of bringing a new tradition to the team. She said “Fontbonne has always revolved around traditions, that’s what makes us a family and I know the fathers loved giving out the flower bouquet just as much as we did receiving it."
After several happy tears were shed and many photos were taken, the favored traditions of the night awaited. Naturally, the best traditions were saved for last, sweet treats and gifts. After the three games were played and the opposing team shuffled out of Fontbonne’s gymnasium, the girls and their families enjoyed baked goods and fresh pizza. While the players were stuffing their faces, the final Senior Day tradition was carried out shortly after. The parents recognized the senior players by creating customized Fontbonne Varsity Volleyball sweatshirts with each girl’s last name and number on the back. By the end of the event every senior volleyball player left with hundreds of teary eyed photos, satisfied stomachs, and another victory for the count.
By Jenna Borrelli '16
Determined and ambitious, Fontbonne's Varsity Volleyball Team is on the road to success and also on the road to states! Currently remaining undefeated, 8-0, this team has a great chance in returning to states this year for a second time in a row. As long as each player continues to keep a focused and positive mind, this group of girls will be able to make it through semi finals, championships and then on to states. The semi final game will be played on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2015. If they do win, the girls will then advance to the championship game which will be played on Saturday, November 7th, 2015. The dates for states are still to be determined.
Last year Fontbonne's Varsity Volleyball Team dominated over St. Francis Prep’s Varsity Volleyball Team during the championship game, ruining their chance at states. This friendly competition pushed each girl to play her absolute best and play with all of her heart. Beating St. Francis Prep’s Volleyball Team sent our girls to Buffalo for the New York State tournament, where they placed 3rd. That accomplishment allowed the junior players on the team last year to gain experience and familiarity that will give them an advantage if they make it to states this year. Although it is almost every team’s goal to make it to states, the reality is that not every team will succeed. However, whether they place first or last, the varsity players will always get appreciated by the entire Fontbonne Community for all of their consistent and diligent work demonstrated throughout the season.
Varsity setter, Bryn Nagel ‘16, is confident that the varsity team will once again work wonders on the court during their last few games, “Last year we worked well, we worked hard and we made it to states. Luckily this year we’ve all been at the top of our game so I am not worried.” After comparing last season to this season, Nagel is correct that Fontbonne’s Varsity Volleyball Team has developed better skills and improved their hits.
After speaking with several other volleyball players, a recurring theme appeared. Gabrielle Breen ‘16, explained this theme perfectly, “The attitude a player walks in with will be reflected in their performance. If someone is playing with a doubtful mind, they will definitely play poorly.” Not only does Coach Linda Strong exercise and prepare each player's physical body, but she also exercises and prepares their minds as well. Without the proper training and both mental and physical stability, Fontbonne’s Varsity Volleyball Team would not be as successful as they are now.
By Jenna Borrelli ‘16
Fontbonne Hall Academy's Francesca Castellano, senior, has officially signed the letter of intent that will allow her to play volleyball for Molloy College next fall. Despite standing at 5 feet 6 inches tall, Castellano’s outstanding outside hits and remarkable serves, clocked at 75 mph, led to her becoming a popular student-athlete for college scouting. Alongside Molloy College, other schools interested in Castellano’s talent are LIU Brooklyn, Caldwell University, St. John’s University, Penn State Lehigh, St. Francis College, Long Island University, and Marist College. Several college tours and information sessions later, Castellano was able to narrow down her options. However, she was still torn between playing for Molloy College located in Rockville Centre, New York or Caldwell University in Essex County, New Jersey.
Although Castellano kept her options open before making a final decision, she already knew which college she wanted to commit to. “From the second I walked into Molloy I knew it was the school for me. During the tryouts all the girls on the team were so friendly and welcoming, they made me feel like I was already part of their team. It was like I was meant to play with them,” she said. Mid-October Castellano signed the commitment papers in her kitchen and less than a month later she signed them again in Fontbonne for the photo signing.
As stated in a recent interview, Castellano is more than satisfied with her decision, “I could not be happier with my choice. I’m counting down the days! Go Lions!” Family members, friends, and coaches are also extremely proud of her for committing to a Division II school and for following her dream of becoming an Olympian. Castellano will begin Olympic training and training for Molloy’s team this summer. Since her first Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) team in sixth grade to signing with a college team, Castellano has proven to be committed to mastering the skills of volleyball in order to reach her goals.
Although the Class of 2016 is only beginning the second quarter of their senior year, graduating is still engraved in the back of most minds. When graduation was brought up, Castellano had much to say, “I am forever indebted to the Fontbonne community and with every future accomplishment, Fontbonne Hall Academy will be the underlying source to my success.”
In closing, Castellano made a promise to “always remember that this is where it all began. I will forever be a Bonnie.” As senior year slowly comes to an end, a Bonnie transforms into a lion.
By Jillian Corozzo '16
There’s nothing they can’t do! Fontbonne’s Varsity Volleyball team took the Brooklyn-Queens and City Championship with ease, remaining undefeated throughout this past season. Once they defeated Archbishop Molloy in the Brooklyn-Queens Championship match, they swept the City Championships by taking three out of four sets against Maria Regina. They then faced their greatest goal and biggest challenge: States.
On November 14th, the team trekked to Huntington Station, New York to play at Saint Anthony’s High School. Senior middle hitter Julianna DeSilvia said, “I had a lot of fun and there was a lot of hard competition at states and I'm glad we did so well. It was a great way to end off my senior season.”
Unfortunately, after 12 extremely close and very enthusiastic sets, Kellenberg Memorial High School emerged victorious as the New York State champions. Mr. Surdyka, a spectator and Fontbonne’s director of technology, said, “It was a long day - but it was incredible. The Varsity team captivated us for 12 sets of terrific volleyball. I was on the 'edge of my seat' for every single point. Thank you [to the team] for providing us this wonderful opportunity to witness this magical ride. It was an unforgettable day - one that I will treasure for many years to come.”
The seniors on Varsity are no strangers to success and tough competition. Bryn Nagel, Emily Greenstein, and Francesca Castellano have played on Varsity since they were freshmen. Francesca Castellano, outside hitter, recently signed her letter of intent to play for Molloy College in Rockville Centre, New York next year. “It was an amazing accomplishment for us to be state runner-up.” Castellano says of her final game with the Fonbonne team, “It was a really emotional game because it was our last time playing together and playing for Fontbonne, but very rewarding as well.”
Whether they be best in Brooklyn-Queens, best in New York City, or one of the two best in New York State, there’s no team quite like our Varsity Volleyball team. Watch out for the senior volleyball team once Sports Night season comes around, underclassmen!