By Regina Shiroma
The defending champs of the Guam Hotel and Restaurant Association Volleyball League, Kotte, ousted Nissan in straight sets, 25-21, 25-16 Tuesday night at the University of Guam Field House in the first round of playoffs.
Though separated by a six-point deficit, Kotte was able to come back and win the first set. Kotte’s Joaquin Charfauros tied the game at 15-all after denying Nissan’s attempt at a kill, towering over the competition with his single-man block. Due to numerous unforced errors on Nissan’s part, Kotte was able to rack up a few more points for the win.
Nissan dug themselves in a hole in the opening points of the second set. Trailing 8-1 after six errors, Nissan’s Frank Gumataotao stopped the mistakes and gave his team a kill from the middle. Nissan then went on an 8-0 run and took the lead for the first and only time of the set, making the score 9-8. Kotte was able to get back on track after Ryan Balajadia and John Chargualaf each delivered a kill. Balajadia executed another kill and Nissan committed a few more errors to end the set and the game.
Despite losing some players from last season’s championship team, Kotte was still able to dominate on the court.
“We lost a bunch of people, but we try to maintain what we have with who we have,” said Balajadia.
Though Kotte is the championship team, this year’s road to the title will be much more difficult.
“I’m really overwhelmed with a lot of the people coming out because the teams are really competitive. Last year’s competition was nothing compared to this year’s competition. Everybody this year brought their A-game.”
“I’m not one to boast, we try to stay humble, and try to do what we can with what we have and hopefully we can come out on top,” stated Balajadia about taking this years title.
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