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LADY SHARKS SHOWING BITE

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 By Patrick Lujan

Sanchez senior captain Edelene Cruz goes through the block of Chrisi Iglesias and Destiny Castro in the decisive third set. (photo by Andre Gadia)

The defending champion Sanchez Sharks sent their seniors off on a good note, taking care of the St. John’s Knights 26-28, 25-18, 25-19 during their last home game of the season Friday night in the Shark Pit.

Starting all seniors during Senior Night, the Sharks shook off a thrilling first set loss against the second-place Knights (Taga Division) and took care of business the final two sets with their regular rotation.

“It’s bitter sweet because we’re excited going into the playoffs but also, (the season) is almost ending,” said senior middle blocker Giselle Kho, who dominated the net. “We focused on our goal tonight – our defense, setting and hitting all came through.”

In the first set, service errors doomed the Knights early on as four service errors handed the host team a 6-5 lead, but a 9-1 run by the visitors had them jump ahead 15-10 on a Rayanne Piana kill.

Freshman Destiny Castro was the go-to force for St. John’s, setting the tempo for the Knights offense and after slamming home a bad Sharks pass for a kill, the Knights were up 22-17.

Giselle Kho: 9 kills, 4 blocks

Kho then turned up her game and guided the Sharks to four ties late in the set before finally a hitting error by teammate Janey Nauta handed the Knights the first-set win.

In the second set, both teams battled to a 15-15 tie before Kho once again lifted her team with three blocks and three kills in a 9-1 spurt to pull away and easily win the second set.

“She controls the net,” Sanchez head coach Art Stanley said about the returning First Team All-Island Kho. “She lived up to our expectations tonight. She just dominated.”

In the third and final set, the Knights ran out of steam and it was evident in their poor passing. Their offense couldn’t get going as the free balls gave the Sharks easy passes.

Sophomore Zhanissa Mendiola helped out Kho with the fire power, delivering four kills as Sanchez took a commanding 21-11 lead. The Knights made one last push, going on a 7-0 run, but the Sharks quickly took back control and cruised to the win.

Senior Giselle Kho attacks the Knights defense from the outside. (photo by Andre Gadia)

The Sharks junior varsity team (10-2) beat a spirited Knights squad (6-6) 25-23, 25-23.

Varsity Stats

1st set

Unforced errors: SJ 9, SS 14. Service errors: SJ 8, SS 3. Aces: SJ 3 (McCarroll 2, Folta 1), SS 2 (Cruz 1, Camacho 1). Kills: SJ 7 (Piana 2, Castro 2, Iglesias 1, Folta 1, Johnson 1), SS 7 (Kho 4, Rice 2, Camacho 1). Blocks: SJ 1 (Castro 1), SS 0.

2nd set

Unforced errors: SJ 9, SS 5. Service errors: SJ 4, SS 6. Aces: SJ 4 (Pianna 2, Folta 1, Castro 1), SS 1 (Aguon 1). Kills: SJ 3 (Castro 1, Folta 1, Johnson 1), SS 8 (Kho 3, Mendiola 3, Cruz 2). Blocks: SJ 0, SS 3 (Kho 3).

3rd set

Unforced errors: SJ 12, SS 9. Service errors: SJ 4, SS 2. Aces: SJ 1 (Chang 1), SS 0. Kills: SJ 5 (Johnson 2, Piana 1, Vuong 1, Castro 1), SS 8 (Mendiola 4, Kho 2, Cruz 1, Nauta 1). Blocks: SJ 2 (Castro 2), SS 1 (Kho 1).

 

Sanchez Algebra teacher Romel Bismonte leads the Sharks cheering. It doesn’t show in this photo, but the crowd really did follow his lead. (photo by Andre Gadia)

 

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