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Lathrop falls to No. 1 Bishop O’Dowd in NorCal semifinal
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Lathrop’s bid for a perfect season and NorCal championship has ended, but the Spartans have little reason for disappointment.

They traveled to Oakland on Thursday for their California Interscholastic Federation Division III Regional semifinal against top-seeded Bishop O’Dowd and were dispatched, 25-22, 18-25, 15-25, 23-25.

“They were really good, give credit to O’Dowd,” Lathrop coach Toa Fa’ali’i said. “They have some huge hitters on their team. I always told my boys that the team that beats us is a team that is better than us. That team is big and aggressive, and they played better than us tonight.”

Arman John finished with 14 kills, three blocks and 12 digs for Lathrop (31-1). He’s one of nine seniors on the team along with All-Sac-Joaquin Section Team selections Christian Green (eight kills, 10 digs, two blocks) and Tory Sumbler (47 assists, two blocks). Libero Diego Sanchez had 18 digs.

The fourth-seeded Spartans got Bishop O’Dowd’s attention early by taking the opening set. The Dragons (33-4) took over from there.

“We had a lot of energy at the start and took that first set from them,” Fa’ali’i said. “They adjusted and came out firing, and we couldn’t block them. We just kind of fell behind, and against a team like that you can’t really give up points to them like we did.”

Bishop O’Dowd welcomes Homestead of Cupertino on Saturday for the championship. For Lathrop, getting to this point was a big accomplishment in its historic season.

“All in all, I’m proud of my boys,” Fa’ali’i said. “We came this far, had an undefeated regular season, won the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) and Section titles — I couldn’t ask for more from these boys. They played their hearts out every day.”