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DOLPHINS LONE UNBEATEN TEAM

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By Niko Bulaon

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Southern’s Lorraina Sanchez goes for the big kill against the host Sharks. (photo by Robert Castro)

It was the matchup of the IIAAG Girls Volleyball League regular season: the Southern Dolphins and the Sanchez Sharks both came in with undefeated records, but only one would come up on top.

Days after defending champion Southern broke Academy Cougars’ perfect record; the Dolphins defeated the Sharks, 25-27, 25-16, 25-16, Saturday night at the Sanchez gym, to stay the only team without a loss.

As the whistle blew to start the third set, the Dolphins started with a quick ace by April Talledo. But multiple errors from both teams had the score tied at 5-5. An ace from Brittany Quinata and a kill from Talledo sparked a Dolphins run to take the lead. The Sharks started to lose focus, committing unforced errors to give their opponents easy points. Two unanswered back-to-back kills from Tianna Sakaba put Southern up by seven, 15-8.

The Sharks looked to stay in the game when an ace from Shaniah Aguon started a small run. A kill and ace by Sharks Kristin Artero cut Southern’s lead to one, 17-16. But an unfortunate error by the Sharks gave way to the Dolphins. Quinata, known for her consistent serves, stunned her opponents with five consecutive aces, ending the set and the Sharks’ perfect record.

“We do a lot of practicing,” Quinata said when commented on her strength of serving. “I’ll admit I was off in the first set, but my team was encouraging me to keep going. They taught me to never give up and keep doing what I do.”

Girls Vball StandingsThe first set started with neither team dominating the other, tying at 4-4. Southern slowly found their rhythm behind Lorraina Sanchez after a huge block. Aces from Quinata and Talledo kept the Dolphins in the lead, 14-7. The Sharks soon found their way around the Southern defense, after a kill and block by Artero. But the Dolphins stayed on top, keeping the score at 17-11.

As the first set seemed to be in the favor of the Dolphins, unforced errors by Southern gave the Sharks another chance at a comeback. With the score at 21-17, a hard hit from Artero gave her team the boost they needed. Southern started to commit many mistakes, tying the game at 22-22.

An ace by Tanya Flores put the Dolphins at 24-23, but an untimely error tied the game. A tip by Sakaba put her team in the lead again, but a quick kill from Artero tied the set at 25-25. With a kill from Kiarra Rojas, the Sharks quickly got the lead for the first time in the set and an ace by Artero gave Sanchez the first set advantage.

Coming into the second started just like the first set, multiple errors had the lead changing. Sakaba’s kill broke the tie and put the Dolphins in front of their opponents. But the Sharks weren’t going to give in so easily, fighting back with three kills from Artero. The Dolphins quickly took the lead again after an ace by Sakaba. Sanchez tried to take back the set behind Mendiola, but the defending champions broke the Sharks’ small run after a kill by Quinata. Multiple errors by the Sharks and another kill by Quinata put the score at 23-16. Southern ended the second set with an ace by Zoe Surber, forcing a third set to be played.

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Southern’s April Talledo delivers a pass in the second set of their huge game at Sanchez. (photo by Robert Castro)

“We know we can’t give up,” said Quinata about Southern’s comeback. “We have to keep fighting no matter what the score is. Us, as a team, encourage each other, we never blame each other and we never give up on each other.”

Being the only team left standing with a perfect record isn’t an easy task. When asked how they plan to keep their streak alive, Quinata said, “We just need to keep together, play as a team, never give up, and play with all our heart.”

Quinata lead the Dolphins with seven aces and three kills with the help of teammate Sakaba with five kills and two aces. In the losing effort, Artero had seven kills and a block.

 OTHER SCORES

Guam High def. Harvest 25-23, 25-17 in battle of winless teams

GW def. JFK 25-23, 23-25, 25-19

ND def. Okkodo 26-24, 14-25, 25-23

Academy def. St. John’s 25-17, 25-16

Junior Varsity

ND def. Okkodo 25-21, 19-25-, 25-12

GW def. JFK 20-25, 26-24, 25-14

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