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COUGARS GET FIRST SEASON WIN

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By Kolby Chang

Isabel Flores spikes the ball for a point. (photo by Jose Perez)

Isabel Flores spikes the ball for a point. (photo by Jose Perez)

The Academy of Our Lady Cougars opened their season with a gutsy, hard fought 25-19, 25-23 win over the Guam High Panthers in the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam Girls’ Volleyball League last night at the Academy gym.

In spite of several tense moments that had the crowd cheering feverishly until the final point, Cougars’ coach Manny Guarin’s faith in his team never wavered.

‘There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement but a close match brings out the best in the girls and they were able to pull through,’ Guarin said.

The game was competitive from the start as the Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao put her team on the board first with a kill. The Panthers’ Ha’ani Limtiaco immediately responded with a kill of her own to even the score at 1 apiece. The teams went punch for punch until the set was tied again at 5-all after the Panthers’ Alexis McGuire crushed down a kill.

Later in the set, the Cougars finally managed to establish a marginal lead after a Panthers’ error made the score 20-17. The cushion proved to be invaluable as the Cougars kept the Panthers at bay until Cyndi Scott put her stamp on the game with two consecutive kills that gave the home team the first set.

Guarin went to far into his rotation to start the second set and those players readily answered the call. ‘We have a deep bench with a lot of talent and it just depends on the moment,’ Guarin said.

Guam High players unable to save the ball. (photo by Jose Perez)

Guam High players unable to save the ball. (photo by Jose Perez)

The moment of truth arrived late in the second set with the Cougars clinging to a 18-17 lead after Erin Wong’s big block got the home crowd screaming for more. The Panthers, however, displayed their mettle and knotted the set at 19 following a scorching kill from Limtiaco.

Nicole Legaspi delivered an ace to put the visiting team up by one point and also riling up their throng of supporters in the process. Ilao then smashed a kill to tie the set at 20 and that paved the way for the final tense moments that had the crowd at the top of their lungs with each hit.

The Cougars’ Alina Bonto tied the set at 21 after blasting a kill and Mika Jakl then gave the home team the lead after she flew in for a kill after another long sequence of play. Just when it seemed the Cougars had sunk their claws into the game, a hitting error negated the lead and gave the Panthers some hope for a third set.

Jakl, however, had other ideas as she received a nice set up from her teammate and sent a kill that seemed to slowly dance along the net in agony before finally dropping. Two consecutive errors committed by the Panthers’ allowed the Cougars to walk away with their first win of this young season.

The loss dropped the Panthers to 0-3.

OTHER SCORES:

Sanchez def. St Paul 25-11, 25-15 (Sharks improve to 3-0; Kiarra Rojas 8 kills)

Southern def. GW 28-26, 25-15 (big win by defending champion Dolphins in their renovated home gym)

St. John’s def. JFK 25-23, 25-11 (Knights first win and Islanders first loss)

Okkodo def. Harvest 25-27, 25-15, 25-20

Junior Varsity:

Academy def. Guam High 25-22, 25-11

Sanchez def. St Paul 25-17, 28-26

GW def. Southern 25-18, 20-25, 25-16

Okkodo def. Harvest in two sets

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Girls Vball Standings

Mikaela Black of Guam High gets some air for a spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

Mikaela Black of Guam High gets some air for a spike. (photo by Jose Perez)

Erin Wong of Academy gets some air to spike the ball. (photo by Jose Perez)

Erin Wong of Academy gets some air to spike the ball. (photo by Jose Perez)

Kayla Blend of Guam High volleys to set up her teammate. (photo by Jose Perez)

Kayla Blend of Guam High volleys to set up her teammate. (photo by Jose Perez)

Celeste Guarin of Academy serves in the second set. (photo by Jose Perez)

Celeste Guarin of Academy serves in the second set. (photo by Jose Perez)

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