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GECKOS WIN SEASON OPENER

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By Bucky Brennan

The Southern High Dolphins met the George Washington Geckos in the opening match of the 2012 Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam’s Girls Volleyball season. The Geckos defeated the Dolphins by way of a two-set victory, 25-21, 25-19. Both teams looked shaky to start the game, but once settled, they gave fans their money’s worth and more.

Zea Nauta goes up for a kill from the outside. (GSPN photo)

Gecko junior Zea Nauta, an offensive and defensive standout of the night said, “the game [environment] is nothing new, with the Shieh and Haggan tournaments and our scrimmages in practice, we were very game ready.”

After trading errors and points early in the first, Nauta hammered a cross court kill to put the Geckos up 6-5. Three points later with the score tied at seven, Southern’s Lorraina Sanchez perfectly placed a tip to put the Dolphins up 8-7. On the next point, Sanchez put a block up against Nauta and Southern eventually won the point. After going on a small run, Southern led 10-7. The teams again traded errors and points, until the game was eventually tied again, this time at sixteen. But, GW’s Auneka Chaco stepped to the service line and her floating serves were tough for the Southern defense to handle. Chaco’s serves and good discipline on the Gecko side finally tilted the momentum in GW’s favor. After going up 17-16, GW never looked back and eventually closed the set out 25-21. Nauta, Geana and Kayanna Leon Guerrero all played excellent offense and defense to help the Geckos close it out.

Nauta explained after the game, “we feed off each other, when one of us is down, we all are, and when we play well, we all do.”

The second set saw better and even more exciting volleyball as both teams seemed to shed the early game jitters in the first set. Southern came out firing, eager to even the score and take back a set behind strong play from Paige Surber, Tiana Sakaba and Tanya Flores. Nauta and Geana LG led the Geckos though and the teams traded leads again until Nauta hammered a kill to make the score 9-7 in favor of the Geckos. From there the Geckos cruised with the lead, capitalizing on Dolphin errors complimented by exceptional offense and defense from the Nauta, Chaco, and Geana LG trifecta. Behind Nauta’s kills, her three aces, and a Dyonni Quitugua kill, the Geckos looked like they were going to run away with the set as the score-line read 22-14 in their favor. But then the Dolphins won a point on a net violation. With the side-out Paige Surber stepped to the serving line. Undeterred by the point deficit, Surber unleashed two huge jump serve aces that brought the Dolphin fans present to their feet. As the gym erupted, Surber served five straight points with a hard top-spin jump serve that the Geckos couldn’t seem to handle. As Surber looked to be leading her team to a great comeback, she was called for a five-second violation and the Geckos got the side-out, much to the dismay of their many fans in the crowd. With the echoes of dismay still reverberating off the GW gym ceiling, the Geckos closed out the set 25-22 and earned their first victory of the year. Both teams joined in the center court to show their sportsmanship and all fans, Gecko and Dolphin alike applauded the teams for what was truly a job well done.

For the Geckos:
Nauta finished the game with three kills, an ace, two tips and three digs; Geana LG finished with three digs, a kill and two aces.

For the Dolphins:
Surber had three aces, two kills and two digs; Sanchez had three digs, three blocks and a tip.

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QUICK HITS

UOG hired Tatiana Sablan as the new volleyball coach. Sablan served as the original volleyball coach for UOG back in 2016 and she has been rehired to lead the more “beach” oriented program in 2022-23.
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