The O’Bryant and English girls’ volleyball teams had quite a battle Tuesday afternoon when they faced off in front of a packed crowd in English’s auditorium.
The match went all the way to the fifth set, but O’Bryant improved to 7-1 as it defeated a tough English squad, 3-2 (16-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-15, 15-12).
For coach Gertrude Fisher and her O’Bryant Tigers, the match was all about determination and never giving in despite the odds.
“We made a lot of mistakes out there,” said Fisher. “But we ended up recovering well. This is still definitely a work in progress.”
O’Bryant dropped the first set, 25-16, but came out freshly motivated for the second after Fisher bent her players' ears about keeping at it. The pep talk paid off, and O’Bryant snatched the second set by the same score, 25-16. O’Bryant held tough in the set with some key aces from junior Shayla Newman-Toledo.
English (5-2) opened a 5-1 lead in the third set and took control early. Fisher took a timeout with her squad down 16-11, and it paid off briefly when they cut English’s lead with 4 straight points.
But it was English’s turn to seize the momentum back. Junior Jasmine Allen led a surge by the Eagles and they held on to win, 25-19, for a commanding 2-1 lead in the match.
With her team down and facing defeat, Fisher told her players to stay composed and to believe in themselves.
“Sometimes I have more faith in them then they do,” Fisher said. “They need to know that they themselves can do it.”
And did it they did. The Tigers took the final two sets in thrilling fashion to capture the victory.
Both sets were dominated by junior setter Pham Camly, whose ability to dig spikes and set them up for her fellow Tigers really kept the offense flowing.
“In those last sets, we really started to communicate with each other,” Camly said. “We also stopped making mistakes. My teammates played with a lot of heart today.”
O’Bryant is sitting pretty in the City League standings, with its only loss coming against defending city champ Latin Academy.
Despite the tough loss, coach Hardy Mondesir and his Eagles are still very much in contention, posting an impressive 5-2 overall record.
Mondesir believes his young team should have won but had too many costly mistakes down the stretch.
“We had the momentum,” Mondesir said. “I feel like we gave that one away. We need to work on our serving and setting as a team. And also of course putting the ball where we want it.”
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