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GECKOS TAME SHARKS

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By Bucky Brennan

Geckos’ Geana Leon Guerrero’s hit is contended by Sharks’ Janey Nauta. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

In game two of the semifinal double header at Okkodu on Tuesday, the GW Geckos proved their worth as they dispatched the defending champion Sanchez Sharks in two sets. With no representation on the All-Island First or Second teams, the Geckos proved that as a team, they can play with the best. With the win, the Geckos will play the Southern High Dolphins Friday and the Sharks will meet the JFK Islanders in the consolation game.

The Geckos played great defense and their offense was firing on all cylinders as they upset the Taga Division first place Sharks 25-21, 25-20.

Geckos standout and lone All-Island member with an Honorable Mention, Zea Nauta said, “We really pulled it together tonight. We’re usually a second-set fizz out team, but tonight we put everything out there and played hard.”

From the first point to the last, the Geckos played great team volleyball that showcased all of their players. Their game plan seemed to be “all hands on deck” as everyone got involved in both sets. With Sanchez up 15-10 in the first, Nauta smashed a kill courtesy of a Sanchez overpass. Her kill was just what the doctor ordered as the Geckos and their fans, led by the GW’s cheerleading squad, came to life. The Geckos scored seven unanswered points behind a block and another two kills from Nauta and two aces from Geana Leon Guerrero.

The McDonald’s defensive player of the game: Geckos outside hitter Geana Leon Guerrero

The McDonald’s offensive player of the game: Geckos middle blocker Zea Nauta

With the score at 17-15 after the run, GW dropped a point on an error and then Sanchez’s senior captain and All-Island outside hitter Edelene Cruz smashed a kill almost straight down to get the Sharks back in the game and tie the score at 17-17. After a GW error, Cruz smashed back-to-back kills for the Sharks to bring the score to 20-17. Errors by Sanchez set up another Nauta kill to give GW the lead. Sanchez’s Zhanissa Mendiola put a kill in the books herself to tie the game at 21-all before Nauta pummeled another kill to go up 22-21. A carry call against the Sharks put the score at 21-23 and Tisha Renee Aguigui’s kill brought the score to game point for GW. Cruz’s hit attempt went long and the Geckos closed the first 25-21.

GW’s Geana Leon Guerrero said, “Tonight felt great, we really played as a team. We need to keep talking and play together.”

Blocker to blocker: GW’s Zea Nauta and Sanchez’s Giselle Kho go head-to-head to start the game. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

In the second, the Geckos continued to “play together” with strong play as they never let up on offense. The Sharks buckled against the constant pressure as they committed an uncharacteristic 17 unforced errors. Playing against the Geckos, that high of an error count is costly and the Sharks learned that the hard way as the Geckos came back from being down 8-4. Aguigui’s kill got things started as Sanchez followed with three unforced errors to tie the game at 8-all. The teams traded points to get to 11-9 with Sanchez clinging to the lead. Three Sanchez errors again coupled with an Aguigui ace gave the Geckos a 13-11 lead. From there the Lady-Geckos never looked back. Errors from Sanchez cost them dearly as the Geckos dialed up their attack. Geana Leon Guerrero served two aces and Nauta and Aguigui slotted kills as the Geckos comfortably finished the second and secured their spot in Friday’s championship match.

http://iconnectasia.com/iconnectguam/For the Geckos, Nauta had six kills and a block, Leon Guerrero had four aces and three digs, Aguigui had four kills and an ace and setter Dyoni Quitugua had 11 assists and one dig.

For the Sharks, Cruz had five kills and five digs, Giselle Kho had three kills, Mendiola had five digs, two aces and a kill and setter Chanel Cantunao had 12 assists.

It is now the Geckos and the Dolphins for all the marbles Friday night after Southern eliminated JFK in the first semifinal match of the evening.

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Geckos coach Bobbi Quinata tells her players to get their heads back into the game during a timeout in the first set. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Sharks’ Giselle Kho and Kayana Leon Guerrero go for the serve receive. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Auneka Chaco gets low to dig the ball off a hit from the Sharks. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Geckos’ Tisha-Renee Aguigui gets the ball past the block of Sharks’ Janey Nauta. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Sharks’ Chanel Catunao and Kae’ana Camacho dive for the ball off a broken play. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

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