After a year's hiatus coaching the WPI women's volleyball team, Hardy Mondesir returned to Boston English and the Bulldogs dethroned an undefeated Latin Academy in the City League semifinals Monday at Burke High School.
Boston English will face O'Bryant, which swept Madison Park, 3-0, in the other semifinal, in Tuesday's championship
English took a hard-fought, five-set match, 20-25, 25-22, 15-25, 27-25, 15-13, one that Mondesir called a "collective team win."
"We're working as a team to get to where we need to be, which is at a state championship. We came in ready to go serve tough. That was the game plan," he said.
Setter Yandra Perez set up her hitters with solid placement, allowing middle hitter Massiel Ramirez to step up her offense. Outside hitter Heidy Barreiro also had strong showings.
Mondesir said nerves got the best of his squad early, but that eventually his girls were able to get back to "bump, set, spike and working on keeping nerves together."
"It's a different game when you have someone jumping and attacking you," he said.
O'Bryant's biggest challenge was Madison Park sophomore Antonea Green, who continuously drilled down hits, keeping the match competitive despite the 25-23, 27-25, 25-12 final score.
"She's phenomenal. She's a wonderful player and she's only a sophomore so she has a lot to look forward to. She does so many facets of the game well so we had to move our defense around her," said O'Bryant coach Gertrude Fisher.
Defense and serving kept her team in control, with stellar play from junior Shayla Newman-Toledo and senior Camly Pham.
"The kids set a goal at the beginning of the season to get to the city championship. I told them it's not something people get often so they better embrace the moment," said Fisher.
Boston English and O'Bryant face off at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Burke High School.
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