By Kolby Chang
The defending champion Southern Dolphins are making waves in the Independent IIAAG girls’ Volleyball League after taking care of business against the Notre Dame Royals at the newly renovated Southern High gym. The Dolphins dispatched the Royals 25-18, 25-18 and improved their record to 3-0, while dropping the Royals to 0-3.
In spite of their quick start, Dolphins’ coach Jaret Sanchez knows repeating as champs is a tall order so he is keeping the team focused on the task at hand. ‘We teach the girls to be humble and we teach them to work hard,’ Sanchez said.
In addition to their unblemished record, the Dolphins finally have a gym to call their own so defending their home court is something senior Tianna Sakaba and her teammates do with a sense of pride. ‘It encourages us a lot instead of going to community gyms,’ Sakaba said.
The Dolphins were tested by a feisty Royals team that wouldn’t go away quietly. After being up by as much as six points in the first set, the Royals carved the lead to four following a tip from Britney Blau to make the score 20-16. Just when it seemed the momentum was about to shift over to the visitors, a string of errors put the match at set point and Sakaba closed it out for the home team when she tipped the ball past the defense.
Brittany Quinata gave the Dolphins a nice 2-0 lead after some fancy serving, but the Royals fought back and tied the game at 3 apiece after Destiny Castro crushed down a kill. Castro followed that up with a big block to give the Royals their first lead of the night.
The teams went back and forth until Quinata’s lightning quick ace tied the set at 9. A few plays later Sakaba continued to put her stamp on the game by hammering down another kill to make the score 11-10. The Royals tried to get back into the game but a series of miscues enabled the Dolphins to go up 16-12.
Later in the set Zoe Surber fired off an ace and the Dolphins were up 19-13 and had the Royals on the ropes as miscommunication continued to plague the visitors. Castro tried to breathe life into her team with a kill late in the set to make the score 23-17 but it proved to be too little, too late. Sakaba then displayed some of her defense prowess and had two consecutive blocks to send the Royals home.
Sakaba was proud of her team’s win last night but deflected credit for a strong individual performance.
“Without my team, I’m nothing. Without each other, we’re nothing. It’s not just a one man show and I’m so proud we’ve made it this far,” Sakaba said.
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