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COUGARS AVOID GECKO UPSET

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By Kolby Chang

Cougars Celeste Guarin is unable to save a spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Celeste Guarin is unable to save a spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

The Academy Cougars wanted to make a statement against the GW Geckos in the IIAAG Girls’ Volleyball League Monday night at the Academy gym.

The Geckos recently handed the Southern High Dolphins, last season’s champions, their first loss of the season so the Cougars’ Ladera Linn said her team was motivated to prove themselves against a formidable opponent. ‘We were hungry to play them,’ Linn said about the Geckos.

In front of a raucous crowd the Cougars knocked off the Geckos 29-27, 25-20 in an exciting, fast-paced game. The Cougars offense was in sync from the start as setters Leah Castro and Mika Jakl displayed some sharp passing that enabled Linn to throw down some powerful kills. ‘We’ve been training throughout the season and we just flow,’ Linn said of her teammates.

The Cougars tied the set at 4-apiece when Erin Wong tipped the ball past the Gecko defense. Linn followed that up with a nice kill to give the home team the lead. The Geckos battled back later in the set and briefly took the lead after Zea Nauta served up three consecutive aces to make the score 15-14. Several plays later, Linn smashed down a kill to even the set at 20 and a tightly contested battle ensued from there.

McDonald's Player of the Game Ladera Linn

McDonald’s Player of the Game Ladera Linn

The Cougars’ Isabel Flores delivered an ace to tie the set 24 but Nauta tipped the ball on the next play to give the Geckos the one-point lead. Cydni Scott responded for the Cougars with a kill to make the score 25-all and Jasie Villanueva scored off of a tip to put the Cougars up by one.

A Cougars’ error on the next play tied the set but Scott hammered down another kill. Dyonni Quitugua tipped the ball for the Geckos to tie the set but two consecutive errors spelled the end of the set for the visitors.

The Geckos opened the second set on fire behind some impressive serving by Nauta and built a 7-0 lead. The Cougars, however, regrouped as Wong sliced into the deficit with back-to-back kills to make the score 8-6 and forced the Geckos to call a timeout.

The Cougars regained the lead later in the set and a thunderous block from Scott made the score 12-9.

The Geckos tried to reestablish a foothold, but crisp passing and good communication by the Cougars kept the visitors at bay until late in the set when the Geckos attempted to rally. Geana Leon Guerrero dished out three consecutive aces and suddenly the Geckos were in striking range with the score 23-20.

The Cougars however, put a halt to that rally as Castro set up Linn for the final two kills of the game.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Geckos Maricia Mariano was able to gain another point with her slam down the right side. (photo by Jose Perez)

Geckos Maricia Mariano was able to gain another point with her slam down the right side. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Gemilie Ilao was unable to pass the ball to the setter. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Gemilie Ilao was unable to pass the ball to the setter. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Cyndi Scott blocks a spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Cyndi Scott blocks a spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Erin Wong blocks a Gecko spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

Cougars Erin Wong blocks a Gecko spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

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