Archbishop Molloy is coming off its first-ever CHSAA state crown and was considered a preseason favorite to repeat in June. Then came a stunning 6-5 loss at Fontbonne Hall to open the league season.
It might be the best thing that could have happened to the Stanners.
“It puts a little fire under them,” Molloy coach Maureen Rosenbaum said. “I wouldn’t say they were cocky, I would say they were confident in the beginning, but I don’t want them to be overconfident because we definitely have a different team and we have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Six starters graduated, but the returning players form the core of this season’s squad. Maria Palmeri and Victoria Goldbach will split time in the circle, while Dana Moss will play first and short and her sister, Taylor, will play first and right field.
While the players up from the junior varsity are still learning the ropes, Rosenbaum is encouraged that her seniors are especially hungry to get back to the CHSAA state tournament.
“That’s what makes the chemistry a little different,” Rosenbaum said. “The seniors are really good role models because they make the kids work hard and don’t let them slack off.”
In Palmeri, who will join Dana Moss at C.W. Post next year, and Goldbach, the Stanners might have the best one-two pitching punch in the city. Unlike last year, both hurlers are completely healthy, another plus for Molloy.
“Maria’s strength is probably her speed, but she’s coming off an injury and didn’t play fall ball this year,” Rosenbaum said. “Tori probably has a stronger focus, they both have a lot of pitches and they mix it up a lot.”
When Goldbach pitches, which was the case in wins against Mary Louis and St. Francis Prep, Palmeri is at short, which Rosenbaum believes could be her team’s most solid defensive lineup.
In a 9-5 win against rival St. Francis Prep Monday, the Stanners proved how lethal a lineup. Molloy, which has won three consecutive Brooklyn/Queens titles, belted out 13 hits scattered throughout its lineup. Theresa Conway, who Rosenbaum said has a lot of speed and a lot of power, had the lone extra-base hit, a leadoff home run.
While the infield is largely in tact from last year, the Stanners outfield is relatively new. Conway takes over in center field for graduated Jen DeMaria, while Kristen Ponticelli returns and should be joined by Catherine Hickey at the corner outfield spots.
Julianne Tracy starts at second base, while Maddie Casello replaces Gabby Basile behind the plate and Fallon McCarthy adds some pop at third base.
“They’re hard workers, it’s a different group and a new challenge,” Rosenbaum said. “The first goal is to try to win Brooklyn/Queens again.”
Contact Dylan Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter: @Dylan_Butler