The joy of senior night had quickly turned to disappointment.
On the same night the Kellenberg girls volleyball team recognized its seniors last spring, it also learned that multiple team members had contracted COVID-19, ending their season and playoff run before it could begin.
They entered this fall season hoping to at least get the opportunity to compete for a championship they felt was within their grasp a few months earlier. They did that and much more.
Teresa Moulder had 20 kills and seven blocks and Caitlin Monaghan had 19 digs and 39 assists to lead the top-seeded Firebirds over No. 3 Sacred Heart to capture the Nassau-Suffolk CHSAA title on Nov. 5 at St. Dominic. Kellenberg won the match, 25-14, 13-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-8.
"It was beyond our wildest dreams and we were just happy we had the opportunity to play together at such a high level," Kellenberg coach Cathy von Schoenermarck said. "We’ve been through the ups and downs together so this was just every storybook ending molded into one."
The described Moulder, who was named MVP of the match and league player of the year, and Monaghan as "Batman and Robin."
"They have this camaraderie and a sixth sense to always know where the other is," von Schoenermarck said.
But it was a team effort that has Kellenberg advancing to the state CHSAA championship this weekend. Sophia Zakovic had nine kills and five blocks. Megan Monaghan, Caitlin’s twin, and Alexandra Eakin each added 13 digs in the win over Sacred Heart.
"We have three players under 5-feet-6 so it becomes about defense, extreme ball control and tough serving for us," von Schoenermarck said. "But the one common denominator was the relentless competitive spirit. It didn’t matter who or where we were playing, in a tournament or a league game or playoffs, they just loved to compete."
Kellenberg (16-0) will have one more chance to compete Saturday at St. Anthony’s for a state championship against St. Mary's of Lancaster, Kennedy Catholic and Fontbonne Academy. Pool play begins at 10 a.m.