Dominican might have won the first point of every game, but 14th-seeded Fontainebleau took the last, moving in to the second round of the Division I volleyball playoffs with a 3-0 victory.
The Bulldogs’ foe in the regional round is third-seeded St. Joseph’s Academy (28-11), which finished the regular season winning 11 of its last 13 matches. The first-round matchup with 19th-seeded Dominican (14-27) was the two teams’ only one this season. The Redstickers were one of the top eight seeds receiving a first-round bye.
Fontainebleau (23-19) won 25-16, 25-20, 25-19. Very rarely did they find themselves out of position and kept unforced errors to a minimum.
“We worked a lot in practice on serving and being in certain situations,” senior hitter Alexis Zulli said. “Putting all of those things together had a lot to do with the energy we had on the court.”
Zulli led the Bulldogs with nine kills and Nicole Lewis followed with six.
Defensively, Lauren Larzeller paced Fontainebleau with 12 digs, while Rachel Tabor and Mallory Roushar each contributed nine.
St. Joseph’s won the only meeting this season with Fontainebleau 27-25, 25-19, 25-23 and has won 17 of 18 matches against Division I schools. The Bulldogs are 12-9 in Division I.
From the beginning, Fontainebleau served notice that they were going to be tough to beat winning 10 of 11 points in one stretch of Game 1 and then reeling off another six straight. The lead grew to 21-10 after their latest surge before they closed out Game 1, 25-16.
“We knew that we needed to execute our game,” Fontainebleau coach Kaci Mule said. “I told the girls that no matter who is on the other side of the court, we have to play. The ones who have been in this position a few times really stepped up and helped the younger ones get through the jitters.”
Dominican might have raised their intensity in the second game, but Fontainebleau responded in similar fashion. Trailing 8-7, the Bulldogs took the next five points and only committed three errors the rest of the game, winning 25-20.
“Fontainebleau didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes, and we made a ton,” Domincan coach Jessica Chatellier said. “We didn’t play our best volleyball, and they did.”
Last season, Fontainebleau entered the Division I postseason as the 12th seed and earned a trip to the state tournament with a dramatic five-set upset on the road at fifth-seeded H.L. Bourgeois. They fell in the quarterfinals 3-0 to fourth seeded St. Amant.