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COUGARS TAKE IT TO GECKOS

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By Niko Bulaon

Academy middle blocker Erin Wong was instrumental in controlling the net in the Cougars big win. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Academy middle blocker Erin Wong (33) was instrumental in controlling the net in the Cougars big win. (photo by Andre Gadia)

In only their second game of the IIAAG Girls Volleyball League season, the Academy Cougars have proved to be a strong, committed team.

Friday night, the Cougars took down one of their long-time rival GW Geckos in two sets, 25-20, 25-17, proving to be one of the best teams to reckon with.

The first set started in the hands of the Cougars. Three aces from Mika Jakl and kills from Gemilie Ilao and Ladera Linn gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead, but an unforced error from the Cougars got their opponents going with five straight points.

Academy stayed focus to start yet another run behind middle-blocker Erin Wong. Communication kept the Cougars in the lead through the first set, but the Geckos fought back to stay in the game; Samantha Quinata challenged Wong with an amazing block and a couple of kills to add points on the board, cutting the lead to only four points. But a Geckos error stopped the small run, giving the Cougars a first set advantage.

“We communicated,” commented Wong on their two-set victory. “We had ball control and finished our plays.”

In an effort to force a third set, the Geckos started the second set with motivation as they fought to a 6-6 tie. Multiple kills and unforced errors from both teams had the lead changing until an ace from Ilao got the Cougars running. Wong kills and blocks kept the Geckos behind as Academy pulled out to a 16-8 lead, but Quinata and teammate Maricia Mariano didn’t make it easy. Fighting to keep the game going, the Geckos managed to have the Cougars commit mistakes, cutting the lead to four.

GW's Maricia Mariano goes up for a kill against Academy's Erin Wong. (photo by Andre Gadia)

GW’s Maricia Mariano goes up for a kill against Academy’s Erin Wong. (photo by Andre Gadia)

A timeout was all the Cougars needed to get their rhythm back. Wong and Linn teamed up to bring their lead back up to eight, 22-14. Great saves by the Geckos had their opponents on their feet, but it was an incredible save by Cougars Celeste Guarin that ended the game with stunned faces.

Being this year’s Shieh Pre-Season Tournament champions and with two wins under their belt, the Cougars plan to get back into the finals. A year ago, the Cougars had the best regular-season record, only to lose to the JFK Islanders in the quarterfinals in possibly the biggest upset in girls volleyball history.

“I think we can always do better,” said the senior Wong. “We’re going to practice and improve and hopefully get the IIAAG championship.”

OTHER SCORESGirls Vball Standings

Sanchez def. Okkodo 25-15, 25-14 (SS: Kristen Artero 5 kills, 4 aces)

St. John’s def. St. Paul 25-15, 25-17 (St. John’s 2nd straight win)

JFK def. Harvest 26-24, 25-19

Junior Varsity

Sanchez def. Okkodo 18-25, 25-11, 25-17

St. John’s def. St. Paul 25-10, 27-25

BYE: Guam High

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

GeckosColleen Quinata tries to tool the ball around Cougars blocker Erin Wong.  (photo by Andre Gadia)

GeckosColleen Quinata tries to tool the ball around Cougars blocker Erin Wong. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Academy's Jasie Villanueva goes up for a kill in the first set against GW. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Academy’s Jasie Villanueva goes up for a kill in the first set against GW. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Academy's Erin Wong tips the ball away from GW's Samantha Quinata. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Academy’s Erin Wong tips the ball away from GW’s Samantha Quinata. (photo by Andre Gadia)

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