By James Kay
In a crosstown battle between Trinity and Fenwick high schools, the Friars (19-11) thumped the Blazers (11-17) on senior night in straight sets (25-15, 25-11). Junior Beau Vanderlaan led the charge with eight kills and two total blocks. Senior Alessia Mollo had 19 digs to go along with four aces on the night.
Vanderlaan, who has already committed to Northeastern University to play volleyball, had her coach Kathleen O'Laughlin raving after her dominant performance.
"I mean games like tonight show you why she's our best player," said O'Laughlin. "Beau has been a force all year but we just haven't been able to get her the ball enough. At this point in the season, we are starting to learn how to set her up and give it to her."
Trinity made things difficult for Fenwick in the early going. The Blazers' outside hitter, Emma Jacobs, set the tone with a series of attacks that gave her team a 3-0 lead. Going into the match, the Friars knew they had to keep an eye on Jacobs, who tallied her 1,000th career-kill a few weeks back.
"We knew she was their go-to player and you have to game-plan for players like her; [she] was all-conference last year," said O'Laughlin. "We really just planned our block around her attack. We're glad it worked out tonight."
Throughout the course of the night, Fenwick made an extra effort to tame the offensive prowess of Jacobs. After both teams went back and forth, exchanging points, with the score at 8-7, the Friars unleashed Vanderlaan.
"I have to give credit to our serving because we were able to put [Trinity] out of position," said Vanderlaan. "That gave me some opportunities."
Behind the junior, Fenwick took an 18-10 lead with Trinity unable to match the size and power of Vanderlaan. She would be responsible for five of her team's 10 points during the 10-3 run. Trinity couldn't bounce back and dropped the set after services errors did them in.
Going into the second set, Trinity seemed like it was going to bounce back. They held their own until the score was knotted at 3-3 when senior Alessia Mollo took things into her own hands. She had back-to-back aces to give her team an 8-3 lead.
Throughout the second set, Fenwick had multiple balls kept alive with diving plays and second efforts that overwhelmed Trinity. The Friars went on two more runs to finish off the Blazers.
O'Laughlin's team looks like it is peaking at the right time.
"They have shown a lot of resiliency and poise in our last tournaments and we have turned up our fight and fire," said O'Laughlin. "This is a young group and they have done a great job figuring it all out."
Despite the youth of this team, the Friars have found their way using their depth.
"I am really excited about our bench," said O'Laughlin. "There are some years where you feel handcuffed when you don't have players who can quite get it done and you don't have the bench to turn to. With this team, I have lots of places to go. If someone has a rough day on the court, our bench is so strong that any of them can come in and contribute."
Fenwick has one more match against Montini Catholic on Oct. 24 before they get set for the postseason. Trinity has a two-day event in front of it at the Jean Field Invite, Oct. 25-26.