Boston Latin School's girls’ volleyball team tempered the pain of going back to school on Thursday with a victory against rival Boston Latin Academy.
The Dragons (0-1) haven’t slayed the Wolfpack (2-0) in two years but Latin School coach Kai Yuen said Latin Academy is always a tough test.
“It’s always a good rivalry,” Yuen said after the 3-1 road victory. “Even though the first set wasn’t close, they came right back in the second one. Nothing is a given in this rivalry.”
The Wolfpack ripped off a 14-point run in the first set before taking it, 25-9.
The Dragons tied it at a set apiece after pulling out a tight second game, 25-21. Latin Academy took its first lead of the day at 13-12 in the second set before going up, 21-16. Latin School got within two, 22-20, but Latin Academy scored three of the last four points to close out the game, 25-21.
“I think we weren’t focusing and we were making really careless mistakes,” said Latin junior middle hitter Maggie Mulligan, who finished the day with 23 kills. “But we came back and got them.”
Latin took the last two sets, 25-13 and 25-18.
“Sometimes we start slow and that second set helped us,” Latin Academy coach Phuong Cao said. “In the first set and the third set we started slow. We fell down right away by a lot of points. We’re going to improve on that.
“It’s encouraging that we were hanging in there until the fourth set. The fourth set was close too. We were right in there until the last few points.”
In the final game, Latin Academy trailed, 18-13, before coming back to cut the score to 22-17. Latin Academy held out home at 24-17 when Latin School junior outside hitter Emerson Boone hit a spike that flew past the baseline. On the next play, however, Boone’s spike nailed the baseline and secured the victory.
“We had trouble getting our spikes down too, they weren’t going down,” Mulligan said. “But after we got them down and it was pretty easy.”
Both teams graduated strong senior classes last year and each team only has two seniors this year.
“So last year we heard they were going to lose a lot of their players, a lot of them were seniors and since they graduated we had a lot of hope in ourselves that we could win,” said Latin Academy sophomore outside hitter Victoria Thong, noting that the Dragons are still rebuilding. "We were hoping the same happened to them, but they have a good coach and their players are really good so we have to catch up to them.
“We were really hoping we would win and since we lost we're like ‘We gotta get them next time.’ Beating BLS is a dream. We beat them a couple years ago and we want to bring [our level] back up because our seniors graduated as well.”
The two teams will play again in the third to last match of the season at 3:45 p.m. Oct. 22 at Latin School.
"They are always a tough team and I expect a tough match toward the end of the season,” Yuen said.
Cao said the Dragons will be fired up next time.
“Now that we know what they are and what we can do,” he said, “hopefully we can give them a better game.”
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- 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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Zolan Kanno-Youngs -- A former captain of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School football team and a current second-year Ujima Scholar at Northeastern University, Kanno-Youngs is the color commentator of the mens basketball team and a writer for Northeastern's campus newspaper, the Huntington News. He joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at KannoYoungs.Globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @KannoYoungs.