As Bishop Feehan senior captain Gianna Detorie prepared to serve late in the third set of Saturday’s Catholic Central Cup volleyball final, her team was tasked with fending off an Austin Prep comeback attempt, just as the Shamrocks had to do in the first two sets.
The host Shamrocks proceeded to go on a 5-4 closing run, grinding out a 3-0 victory over Austin Prep (25-21, 25-13, 25-18) in Attleboro and relying on the mental toughness they have accrued throughout the chaotic fall season.
“We’ve been focusing on being mentally tough enough to fight through to the end of games, and we’re young. I’m proud of our team,” Bishop Feehan coach Heidi Bruschi said.
The Shamrocks relied heavily on Detorie in the final two sets, in which she produced 11 assists and 3 kills.
“We just had to keep reminding ourselves to focus on the basics and not be too concerned on what the other side is doing,” Detorie said.
Detorie and the Shamrocks were eliminated in the semifinals of the Division 1 South tournament a year ago, and while there is not a state tournament this season, the squad’s Catholic Central Cup victory does create a feeling of redemption.
“It means so much to just be able to have a season and to be able to win in my senior year ... this is awesome,” said Detorie, who will attend the University of Scranton next year.
For Bruschi, in her first year as head coach, the future is bright, and the present is sweet.
“For 10 weeks we’ve been able to play safely. This is a wonderful thing we could provide this opportunity,” Bruschi said. “This is a special group of kids and we’ve been through a lot this year.”
Bishop Fenwick 3, Bishop Feehan 1 — Entering the Catholic Central Cup matchup, Bishop Fenwick had just one conference loss on the season: a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Bishop Feehan. This time, the Crusaders flipped the script, winning 3-1 in a hard-fought contest and finishing their season at 6-3-2 (4-1-2 in CCL play).
“To win against the team that we had lost to before, and had been our only league loss — that was huge,” Crusaders coach Marybeth Mahoney said.
Junior Arianna Costello scored twice in a two-minute span of the second quarter to give Fenwick the lead. Mahoney credited her team for setting up Costello with high-quality passes up the field, and applauded the forward for finishing them off.
“Arianna has really been a star on the forward line,” she said. “She knew what to do and she just knocked them in, and I think it was a whole team effort.”
Alyssa Boucher cut the deficit in half for Feehan (6-3-1) in the third quarter, but junior captain Grace Morey sealed the win for Fenwick, scoring with three minutes to play.
“Last time we played Feehan, we didn’t have a lot of direction of where we were going; it was more individual playing,” Mahoney said. “This time when we played them, it was really a coherent team unit.”
This season was Fenwick’s first go-round for field hockey in the Catholic Central League. To win the Catholic Central Cup in a modified season with COVID-19 challenges is a statement for the program.
“This was a huge, huge, confidence boost for anyone who’s ever been in the Fenwick field hockey program,” Mahoney said. “We know that we can play at a high level and we know we can win those championships.”