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COUGARS BEAT ROYALS IN TWO

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By Bucky Brennan

Royals Kristi Stone hits over the big block of Cougars’ Alixes Scott. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The Academy Cougars closed their 2012 regular volleyball season with a straight set win Friday night at their home court, sending their storied rivals, the Notre Dame Royals packing 25-15, 25-18. With the win, the Cougars finish the season with a division and league best record going into the playoffs. Celebrating their senior night, seven of this year’s Academy varsity squad members bid farewell to their Cougar volleyball net after the IIAAG playoffs set to close in the coming weeks.

Finishing the regular season atop the Gadao division, the Cougars make preparations for the tough road ahead as league opponents will be gunning for the regular season champs.

Of the pressure of being this year’s best, Academy freshman standout Sirena Cepeda said, “We really work well as a team, but going into the playoffs, we have to work on communication, and we could cover more.”

AOLG’s Sirena Cepeda

Going with an all-senior starting line-up to begin the night, Academy came out hot and immediately went to work against the Shaky Royals Defense. Allie Umagat served three straight aces to get the game going. From there, the Cougars coasted for a bit until the score read 17-11 in their favor. ND’s Sheri Stanley came up with a huge block that finally got some momentum on the Royals side. The Royals’ Levana Terlaje and Kristi Stone followed with kills that looked to be the beginning of a Royals comeback to bring the score to 17-15 with Academy holding a shrinking lead. On the next play though, Cepeda smashed a kill to space for the Cougars and from there they never looked back as they closed the first with a 25-18 win.

Academy’s Isabel Flores gets a hit past ND’s blocker Sheri Stanley. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

With the packed gym dominated by mainly Academy fans, the echoes of “Academy does it better!” and “Lets go Cougars, LETS GO,” reverberated off the walls to begin the second. The Cougars took off right where they left things in the first. Going up 7-5 after trading errors, Cepeda stepped to the serving line for the Cougars. Her floaters barely glazed the net and proved to be too much for the Royals as she served five straight points, four of them being aces, to get Academy up 13-7. From there, the Cougars held the comfortable lead as Ladera Linn’s powerful, kill-producing arm, along with setter Stephanie Bordallo’s unparalleled setting selection, helped Academy to close out the set 25-18.

Guam High def. Southern 22-25, 25-20, 25-16.

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