A sports dynasty is defined as a team that dominates their sport or league for multiple seasons. The Marian Fillies volleyball program certainly fits that mold.
The Fillies added another trophy to their overflowing case on Thursday night, defeating Nativity in four games to earn the District 11 A Championship.
Over the years, the Fillies have had countless individuals help them win six District 11 A Championships since 2003. They've had many leaders and an abundance of outside and middle hitters that have tortured Schuylkill league and District 11 opponents in that span.
However, there is one position on the volleyball court that may not garner as much attention as the hitting positions. That position is setter.
To those of you who aren't very volleyball saavy a setter can be likened to a point guard on a basketball team or a quarterback in football.
The setter's job is to distribute the ball to the playmakers. In most cases, they're the smartest player on the floor as they have to know each individual on their team inside and out. They also have to lead and put their team in the best possible position to win. Luckily, for the Fillies their setter has all those intangibles.
The Los Angeles Lakers had Magic Johnson, most recently the New England Patriots had and still have Tom Brady, and since 2011 the Marian Fillies have had Abby O'Donnell.
With O'Donnell at setter the Fillies have won the last two District 11 Championships and they show no signs of slowing down. It's evident when watching Marian play that O'Donnell has a cool, calm, and collective look about her. She knows who to get the ball to and when and the end result over the past two seasons has been pure success.
"This team has tremendous leadership and Abby is a huge part of that," said Marian coach John Fallabel. "Abby is our quarterback out there and she is getting smarter and better every single game. There's a reason why these girls get so many kills night in and night out and that's because we have a great setter."
O'Donnell has an impressive stat line almost every night and performed well once again on Thursday. The Junior collected 38 assists and 12 digs on the evening.
O'Donnell surpassed the 2,000 assist mark in late September and currently ranks second behind Kayla Poluka (2002-05) who tallied 3,783 career assists.
What's even more impressive about O'Donnell is her consistency. She had 880 assists her freshman year, 901 in her sophomore campaign, and currently has 773 assists. That brings her career mark to 2,554 assists.
"Being a setter is a big leadership role and sometimes it's tough, but I love it," said O'Donnell. "I know it's my job to keep my team's energy up and with the talent we have, I know we can win no matter what when I do that. I know what each one of my teammates is capable of and I try my best to that use that to our advantage."
The Fillies will now travel to North Pocono High School on Tuesday to face District 2 Champ Dunmore in the first round of the PIAA A State Tournament. The game will be played at 7 p.m.