Lions feast on Golden Falcons in Home Opener

by Nick Crispino 

     It was a successful home opener for the Molloy College volleyball team, beating Felician College, 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 18-25, 21-25) at the Quealy Gymnasium, Rockville Centre, on Wednesday night. The win is their third in a row and puts the Lions over .500 on the season with a record of 3-2. Junior outside hitter, Sam Berna, helped Molloy win with a stellar performance, leading the team in points (19), kills (16) and digs (14). Sophomore outside hitter, Cassie Palmer and Junior right side hitter, Shannon Appeal also contributed immensely, earning double digit points on the night. Palmer produced 13 kills and 10 digs for a total of 17.5 points and Appeal contributed 9 kills and 2 blocks giving her 10 points. 

    The Lady Lions came out firing in the first set, taking an 11-2 lead to start the match. Molloy was playing like they were going to coast for a first set win but trouble stirred as the Golden Falcons went on a six-point spree, closing the gap, 24-23. At this point, third year Head Coach Billy Corrao took a timeout to settle down his team. Asked what he said during the time out, Carrao stated, "we drill that scenario almost every day in practice, we have one opportunity to get to a game point, we have to put them away, that's what I told them, let's focus on what we do in practice, it's serve, receive, one pass and put the ball away."  Molloy did come out strong after the timeout, forcing an attack error to seal the win.

     Set two was a back and forth battle with the lead reaching no more than four points. The Lions had the lead for most of the match but Felician took advantage of an attack error, going up 24-23, and then earning the win with a service ace. Set three was looking like another close bout until the Lions went on an 8-1 run, bringing the score to 17-13 in favor of Molloy. Lions struggled early on but took a commanding lead and finished strong when Palmer hammered in the last kill of the set.

      The final set of the night was very close with the Lions down 21-20 but a kill by Palmer brought the game to a tie. Sophomore outside hitter, Katie Gallagher gave Molloy some breathing room when she smashed the ball for two consecutive kills, giving the Lions a 24-21 lead. Gallagher along with the help of Appeal blocked an attack resulting in a win for the Lions.  Even though it was a win, Carrao isn't satisfied with the performance, "I'm happy with the result, I'm not terrible happy with the process, I give a lot of credit to Felician, they played a very tough, smart game, they didn't make a ton of mistakes and we did."  Carrao and the rest of the staff have high hopes for this year, expecting to go deep into the East Coast Conference playoffs. After the game Carrao said, "I think we have an opportunity this year that we haven't had in years past, we can be towards the top of the conference and in the running in the Region." The Lions next game is Saturday at the Quealy Gymnasium and it's a double header against Merrimack and Nyack College, starting at 11. A.M.

For more photos of the game check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/molloylife/sets/72157635491173023/