By Joseph Staszewski
Fresh off its first CHSAA state softball title, Archbishop Molloy has already heard the rumblings of what’s expected this season.
“We feel like everyone thinks we’re the team to beat,” senior Dana Moss said. “We are confident, but we are not cocky.”
There are plenty of reasons to believe that to be the case.
Molloy, which has won three-straight CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens crowns, returns its pair of dominant aces in C.W. Post-bound power thrower Maria Palmeri and Victoria Goldbach, known for her ability to change speeds. Both are completely healthy to start the season. Goldbach battled a shoulder injury the beginning of last year and Palmeri, an All-City first team selection by the New York Post, hurt her knee over the summer.
“They are two of the best pitchers in the city without a doubt,” Stanners Coach Maureen Rosenbaum said.
Palmeri, who will be at short with Goldbach in the circle, is part of a deadly middle of the order along with Moss, who is also headed to C.W. Post, and her sophomore sister Taylor. The three combined to go 12-for-20 with seven runs scored and 10 RBIs in two state playoff games and went 9-for-12 with five runs scored and five RBIs in a city title game win over Moore Catholic. Both Mosses and Goldbach earned All-City second team honors.
“It’s special to our core,” Dana Moss said. “It’s not just the middle of the lineup that can hit. It’s the whole line up.”
Dana Moss will split time at first and short and Taylor Moss, a sophomore, will do the same at first and right field. The Stanners’ best team has been with Goldbach in the circle and Palmeri gobbling balls up in the infield.
There are still holes to fill. Kristen Ponticelli will be back in one of the corner outfield spots and batting second, but will have a new partner atop the order and in center field. Junior Theresa Conway is expected to take over in center field and the leadoff spot for the graduated Jen DeMaria.
“Theresa’s a speed demon,” said Dana Moss. “We needed a table setter and she definitely filled that spot.”
Julianne Tracy will add speed and play second base. All of the players raved about catcher Maddie Casello, who slides in for Gabby Basile and her strong arm. Catherine Hickey will see time in left and Fallon McCarthy can add a power bat at third.
“I see a lot of potential in her,” Palmeri said of Casello.
The Stanners see the same in themselves. Rosenbaum said she hasn’t felt the difference of being the defending state champions, but believes that might change when games begin in a new five-team Brooklyn/Queens league that includes rivals St. Francis Prep and Mary Louis. Her players believe their experience in big games will help them deal with any pressure they feel.
It’s not like they haven’t done any of this before.
“Winning lets you know what it feels like to be at the top,” Goldbach said. “So we definitely want to get back there again.”