By Joseph Staszewski
Queens remains the dominant volleyball borough in New York City. The three city titles brought home by Queens’ teams should be evidence enough.
St. Francis Prep was the city’s top club. It won its seventh straight CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division I title and earned the school’s first CHSAA Class AA state crown since it won three straight from 1984-86.
Benjamin Cardozo took home its third PSAL Class AA crown in the last four years with a thrilling victory over Midwood in the final.
St. John’s Prep earned its third straight CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Division II crown. Townsend Harris and Archbishop Molloy also had strong campaigns.
Here are the people who made it another special volleyball season in Queens:
All-Queens Player of the Year: Jaclyn LaForgia, St. Francis Prep
On a team filled with plenty of potential star players, LaForgia easily stood out. The senior outside hitter can do it all on a volleyball court. She was a dominant force in the post-season, putting down nearly every ball she is served. She recorded 24 kills and eight in the diocesan championship match against Fontbonne. LaForgia continued her hot play into the state championship tournament. There she outdueled Duke-commit Leigh Meyer in the final with 16 kills and recorded a team-high 58 kills on the day.
All-Queens Coach of the Year: Kevin Colucci, St. Francis Prep
Colucci has built a juggernaut program during his time at St. Francis Prep. The Terriers won their seventh-straight diocesan title in dominant fashion this season. They were finally able to get over the hump during this run by winning a state crown in their third straight trip to the final. Colucci has helped put the program here through his aggressive scheduling, ability to push his girls to be better at something each day and his ability to bring cohesiveness to a group of talented players.
All-Queens Girl’s Volleyball First Team
OH Erica Byrne, Archbishop Molloy
Byrne was one of the key cogs to the Stanners’ attack, thanks to her consistency and smarts. The senior was also Molloy’s emotional leader on the court. She was the first to celebrate and the one who usually made a play to settle her team down.
MH Caroline Gorecki, St. Francis Prep
The senior stalwart was a force around the net and one of the Terriers’ leaders on the floor. Gorecki was always a threat for a key kill or a big block. She made opponents think twice about being aggressive at the net.
OH Hyeon Jeon Lim, Townsend Harris
Jeon Lim is a superb all-around player and one of the PSAL’s most dangerous hitters. The junior helped lead Townsend Harris to a second place finish behind Dozo in Queens A East. She has 46 kills, 32 digs and 17 aces this season in league play.
OH Kerry Mackey, Christ the King
Christ the King took steps forward as a program this season — two league wins — behind Mackey. The senior is one of the city’s most under-the-radar players. She had 14 kills to lead the Royals past Mary Louis for its first league victory in two years.
OH Anja Malesevic, Benjamin Cardozo
The Serbian import made a huge impact in her only season in the PSAL. The senior was the driving force behind the Judges’ PSAL city title. They were a different team with her up front. She had 19 kills in the championship match against Midwood.
L Rachel Ng, Benjamin Cardozo
The senior was the heart and soul of the Judges’ squad. She did all the dirty work and made the hustle plays. Ng led the team in digs with 89 in league play. That includes 17 in the title match that saw Dozo have to rally to win the first set.
S Nicole Tong, St. Francis Prep
Tong had plenty of talent around her and used it to perfection. The senior knew when to spread the ball around and when to feed the hot hand. She allowed the Terriers’ attack to fully realize its potential. She had 39 assists and 10 digs in the diocesan final.
RS Emily Rabot, Archbishop Molloy
The senior has been a rock for the Stanners throughout her career and was again so this season. She provided a fresh-faced squad with leadership and was also the team’s top threat around the net. Molloy has big shoes to fill in her absence.
MH Stephanie Sokolich, St. Francis Prep
Sokolich was arguably the Terriers’ most improved player. The senior’s poise and power around the nets kept opponents from being able to key on Jaclyn LaForgia and Caroline Gorecki. She was a big reason SFP was state champs.
S Jessica Yin, Benjamin Cardozo
The two-year starter continued to show why she is one of the city’s best setters and also a big weapon serving. Yin recorded 163 assists and 44 aces. She developed chemistry quick with Anja Malesevic and helped in the development of the team’s other hitters.
S Pamela Arce, Bryant
OH/MH Annalis Fee, Francis Lewis
S Patricia Grippi, Long Island City
MH Caity Hall, St. John’s Prep
OH Kayla Kilgallen, Mary Louis
MH Camille Pangalangan Archbishop Molloy
RS Elayine Pereira, Mary Louis
S Emma Michaels, Scholars Academy
S Joanna Rios, Christ the King
MH Whitney Yeung, Benjamin Cardozo