The Latin Academy girls’ volleyball team knows how to finish games. It’s in part why the Dragons are reigning city champs.
So when they clashed with the Madison Park Cardinals Thursday afternoon, the Dragons didn’t lose their composure when they were down in each of the three sets.
The Dragons (5-0) handed the Cardinals (3-1) their first loss of the season, a 3-0 decision (25-16, 25-16, 25-20) with stellar play from team captain Alexandria Wilson and libero Christina Wong.
“Our offense was on point today,” Wilson said. “Our serving game was great, too.”
The Dragons opened the first set flat, and found themselves down, 5-2. But when Wilson came to serve, they went on an 8-0 run, putting them up, 10-5. Wilson had three aces during the run. The Dragons finished the set with 5 straight points to capture it, 25-16.
However, Madison Park was undefeated for a reason. Following a pep talk from coach Gladys Byrd, the Cardinals came out aggressively and matched the Dragons for most of the second set. There were ties at 8-8 and 14-14. But once again, a late surge from Wilson & Co. led to an identical result and score, 25-16.
“We responded well under pressure,” said Latin Academy coach Phuong Cao. “All day we wanted to keep our momentum and finish strong.”
And during an even closer third set, finishing strong is exactly what the Dragons did.
Facing a deficit of 17-13, it looked as though the Dragons were out of gas. That’s when Cao called a timeout and gave his players time for some recuperation. The Dragons proceeded to go on a 12-3 run, taking the set and match with a score of 25-20.
“We definitely had to pick it up for the third set,” Wilson said. “That timeout really pulled us together.”
The Dragons are looking forward to competing for another city championship. But Cao knows the season is young.
“We missed too many serves in that last set,” he said. “But we focused much better after the timeout. It was a good comeback in the end.”
Wilson also attributed her team’s success to its resilience. And she has her eye on capturing a second straight city championship.
“Well, we won the cities last season,” she said. “So it’s like every game this year we’re defending it.”
Ryan M. Butler covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @butler_globe or @BPSspts.
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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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.