It was somewhere near the middle of the second set in his match against Franklin’s Brian Barker where everything started to click for Bobby O'Donnell. Down 4-1 and giving up the first set, O’Donnell came back after being able to play closer to the net resulted in some valuable points.
“That was a big point, especially when I had the wind with me being able to hit deeper shots,” O’Donnell said.
With his opponent’s frustration building along side his patience. While OA fell to Franklin 3-2, O’Donnell slowly came back to win game, and then the set, and eventually the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“He was trying to win it outright after the second of third hit instead of being patient. When he was patient he won the point so he just out toughed him,” OA tennis coach Ann Foresman said.
The win gave the OA senior captain his seventh victory this season. If anything the win showed what type of player O’Donnell is. A Hockomock All-Star in golf, O’Donnell’s strengths are on the links rather than the courts. He might not have the best tennis form around but when you are a natural competitor, sometimes grinding it out can get the job done.
“He’s very scrappy. He has the biggest heart and he just fights and fights and fights and he will do what it takes to get the ball in the court back over the net and win points,” Foresman said.
What started out as a something to do during the summer at age 13, the sport has become so much more for O’Donnell. Horning his skills at the Easton Tennis Club, O’Donnell made the team as a freshmen and eventually because a captain in his junior year. Being named a captain was a result of the positivity that he brings to the team.
“Bobby brings leadership and courage to our team,” Foresman said. “He is a born mentor. He takes kids under his wing. He sets a great example. He brings a level a maturity which is unusual in high school kids.”
That maturity is needed on a team of half seniors and half freshmen.
“Its such a positive atmosphere. They’re all my friends, they’re all my buddies even the freshmen,” O’Donnell said. “Its just cool to watch us grow together.”
This will be the last hurrah for O’Donnell. When the fall arrives he will be studying Biology with a pre-med concentration at Saint Anselm College. While he did make the golf team, he realizes that when your goal is to become Dr. O’Donnell, athletics sometimes has to take a back seat.
When O’Donnell graduates this spring along with the other six seniors on the team, there will be seven freshmen that will return for next year’s team. He leaves behind a young team that will hopefully thrive under the leadership that O’Donnell and the other seniors have bought to the team.
“We’ll miss him very much when he leaves us but he’s been a great guy to have as part of Oliver Ames tennis,” Foresman said.