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O'Bryant girls' volleyball handles Burke and looks to take top spot at city championships

Posted by Justin Rice  September 23, 2013 05:39 PM

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Shayla Newman-Toledo spikes that ball against Burke on Tuesday afternoon.(Billy Owens / For the Globe)

Off the top of her head, O’Bryant girls’ volleyball coach Trudy Fisher doesn’t know how many times in a row her team has made the city tournament, but she knows she’s tired of finishing second.

“I don’t know, but I told my team before we started practicing this year that I was tired of coming in second,” Fisher said after her squad beat Burke, 3-0, at home Monday afternoon. “They are going to take the challenge because I’ve never said anything like that to them, I just let them play.”

After sweeping O’Bryant twice in the regular season last year, Latin Academy swept the Tigers again to win the city championship. The three previous seasons, Boston English won the city championship. And before that, Latin Academy won seven straight city championships.

But with 11 upperclassmen and only one sophomore, Fisher thinks this will be her year.

“We have some veterans that are returning,” Fisher said. “The kids bring poise when they play. They don’t make as many mistakes so I think they’ll be all right this year. I think they’ll surprise some people.

“We’re progressing so far but we still need work, we need to tighten up our defense, but once we do that, we’ll be OK."

Fisher’s team beat Latin Academy in the semifinals of the city tournament two years ago before losing to English, and last week they took a set off the Dragons before losing, 3-1.

“We lost, but we won a set, which is a big accomplishment so far,” said O’Bryant senior setter Camly Pham. “So we’re training three times harder. It will all show. We’re just going to practice hard and go from there.”

Burke has plenty of seniors, too, but not as much experience. Last year’s squad that made the city tournament for the first time in about 25 years graduated seven seniors.

This year’s team has five seniors but they are all first-year players.

“I know this year is a rebuilding year,” said Burke coach Joanne Lee Nieves. “The only thing is, most of these kids are seniors coming out for the first time so it’s a lot of work and they are not coming back again. So I know it’s going to take a long time but they are coming to practice, they are working hard, but it’s going to take a lot more matches for them to get the whole picture.

“Losing seven players that played almost four years for me, this is the way it’s going to be. I’m going to lose some games, maybe a lot more than I’d like this year but if they stick with it there’ll be victories.”

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.