Trudy Fisher has been at this coaching endeavor a long time. Her girls’ basketball and volleyball teams at the John D. O’Bryant School have a record of success.
But in this unique Fall II season, Fisher is grateful for the players that chose to come out and compete during a pandemic.
With nine varsity players, the Tigers extended their unbeaten season with a 25-11, 25-16, 18-25, 25-12 victory over visiting East Boston in the Boston City League semifinals Thursday.
O’Bryant (11-0) will face fellow unbeaten Latin Academy (11-0) in Friday’s final at Madison Park (11 a.m.), a rematch of their Oct. 26, 2019 City title match in which the Tigers swept LA, 3-0, to cap an 18-0 regular season.
On Thursday, O’Bryant received stellar play from senior outside hitter/blocker Theresa Piard, sophomore hitter/blocker Grace Lloyd, and sophomore Karen Huynh, a defensive specialist who is also the team’s setter.
“[The players] communicate very well with each other, they are friends,” said Fisher. “They are committed to the game, and they like the game.”
O’Bryant controlled the first two sets, but East Boston (8-3) was determined to take the third set and played extremely hard to pull out the win. The Tigers were in command from the start in the clincher.”
Now O’Bryant is back in the final.
“This has not been easy [this season], and there is a lot of stress on the girls,” said Fisher. “But this group has been such a pleasure to coach, and I am so grateful to have this season.”
Latin Academy 3, Burke 1 — After dropping the first set in the Boston City League semifinal, 25-23, the Dragons (11-0) rallied to win the next three thanks in part to contributions off the bench from sophomore setter Kelly Hoffman and junior outside hitter Sophie Rutstein at the start of the second set, a 25-13 win.
In the third-set victory, 25-11, middle hitter Lynn Donastien produced several kills and senior libero Amanda Nguyen led a 6-0 service run.
“In the first set we missed a bunch of serves, the pass a bit on and off and the communication was off,” said LA coach Lok-Tin Yao. “So we made a lot of mental errors. And then we played like we’re capable of playing.”
Latin Academy closed out the match, 25-21, earning a spot in Friday’s final against fellow unbeaten O’Bryant.
Winchester 3, Burlington 1 — Extended to a fourth set by Burlington for the first time during the Fall II season, Winchester (12-0) bounced back from a 26-24 third-set setback with a convincing 25-18 clincher in the semifinals of the Middlesex League semifinals. Sophomores Lauren Tian (14 kills) and Kate Jiang (30 assists) paced the attack for Winchester, which will host the Lexington/Melrose winner in Saturday’s final at noon.
Melrose 3, Lexington 0 — The unbeaten Red Raiders (12-0) started slow in their Middlesex League semifinal, but after a 25-17 first-set win, closed out the match, 25-13, 25-15 in the final two sets.
“Once we got our footing out there, we were a pretty tough team tonight,” coach Scott Celli said. Junior Elena Soukos led the Red Raiders with 10 kills, followed closely by sophomore Chloe Gentile with nine.
“We rely on obviously the whole team, but we had a couple of underclassmen that really played big for us tonight,” he said. Now it is on to the final.
“[Winchester is] very well-coached, very talented,” Celli said. “We know we’ll have our hands full, but, you know, we were pretty talented too, so I think it’s going to be one of those matches that is just gonna be a grind.”
Fairhaven 3, Apponequet 0 — Abigail Lens (1 ace, 3 kills) and Sydney Swinney (4 aces, 3 kills, and 6 digs) paced the host Blue Knights (4-5) in the South Coast Conference win.
Case 2, Greater New Bedford 1 — Kate Oliveira scored both goals for the Cardinals (4-4-1) in the South Coast Conference road win over the Bears.
Correspondents Matt Doherty, Ethan Fuller, Emma Healy, and Nate Weitzer also contributed. To report scores, call 617-929-2860/3235 or email email@example.com.
Craig Larson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.