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DOLPHINS WIN UNBEATEN BATTLE

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By Niko Bulaon

Dolphins Tianna Sakaba was instrumental with a big game at the net in Southern's win over Academy Friday night. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins Tianna Sakaba was instrumental with a big game at the net in Southern’s win over Academy Friday night. (photo by Asha Robles)

In a packed Academy gym, it was the battle for the top spot in the Gadao Division as the undefeated Southern Dolphins took away the Academy Cougars perfect record in a three set match, 16-25, 25-19, 25-21, Friday night in the IIAAG Girls High School Volleyball League.

As the whistle blew to start the third set, the Dolphins and Cougars planned to get their teams going, but errors from both sides had the lead changing. Back-to-back aces from Zoe Surber had the Dolphins ahead of their opponents, but a Southern error and an ace from Cougars Ladera Linn kept the score close at 9-6. It wasn’t until Lorraina Sanchez stepped up with two aces and at-the-net tips to bring the Dolphins lead to six, 12-6. But Cougars Erin Wong cut the lead short to one, 13-12, with two unanswered kills.

The Cougars stayed close behind the Dolphins, but it wasn’t long before April Talledo gave Southern the boost they needed to keep their lead; serving two aces and making an incredible save to bring the score to 20-16. Sanchez’s ace and tip had her team closer to the 25 mark, but Academy wasn’t going to give up so easily. Another kill by Linn and multiple errors by the Dolphins had the score at 23-21. But ultimately, it was two unforced Cougar errors that had Southern keep their undefeated status and stay on top of the Gadao Division.

“We just played defense,” said Talledo when asked how did they prepare for their tough match. “We practiced defense yesterday for this game and we just did it.”

Southern's April Talledo McDonald's Player of the Game

Southern’s April Talledo
McDonald’s Player of the Game

The Cougars started the first set after two straight aces by Mika Jakl. But the Dolphins soon got going after a kill by Tianna Sakaba. Unforced errors by Academy and Southern changed the lead until Linn stepped up with an ace and a quick tip over the net to keep the lead on her team’s side. But a huge block from Sakaba against a hard hit by Wong had Academy on their feet and ready for anything.

Three back-to-back aces by Jakl started a Cougars run. Kills from Wong and multiple aces had the Cougars running away with the first set, keeping the score at 21-10. Just as Academy was ready to take the first set, an ace from Talledo gave Southern hope into coming back. With the score at 23-15 after a huge block from Sanchez, the Cougars ended the Southern run, ending the set with an ace from Alina Bonto.

The second set was all or nothing for the defending champions, but it started off well after a Talledo kill and two errors by Academy. Two kills by Linn had her opponents alert. After many unforced errors, the Cougars looked to take the lead from the Dolphins after two blocks from Wong, tying at 11-11. But the Dolphins wouldn’t give up, handing their opponents kills to keep their lead.

Tied at 17-17, two aces from Surber and an amazing dig by Talledo had their team in the lead again. Back-to-back kills from Cougars Jasie Villanueva had the Cougars ready to take the set away from their opponents, but Sanchez had other plans, landing a tip and an ace to end the second set.

When asked about their motivation to come back from a first set loss, Sanchez replied, “Our coach (Jaret Sanchez), he gave us a tip from a friend we had lost last year, her name was Kiara [“Kiki” Sanchez], and that’s what he wanted us to think about to get [the game] back because we always have a way of getting ourselves back up. That’s how we fight, that’s how he told us to fight.”

As one of two remaining undefeated teams in the league alongside the Sanchez Sharks, Talledo said that they plan to “defend their title”.

OTHER SCORE

Notre Dame def. Guam High 23-25, 25-22, 26-24

Junior Varsity

Guam High def. ND 25-18, 25-15

GW def. St. Thomas 25-18, 25-20

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Girls Vball Standings

Cougars middle blocker Erin Wong flies high above the net for the kill. (photo by Asha Robles)

Cougars middle blocker Erin Wong flies high above the net for the kill. (photo by Asha Robles)

The Cougar mascot get the packed crowd pumping for the big game. (photo by Asha Robles)

The Cougar mascot get the packed crowd pumping for the big game. (photo by Asha Robles)

 The Dolphins Tianna Sakaba tools one past the Cougar's defense. (photo by Asha Robles)

The Dolphins Tianna Sakaba tools one off the Cougars block. (photo by Asha Robles)

Zoe Surber is there to dig up an attempted kill. (photo by Asha Robles)

Zoe Surber is there to dig up an attempted kill. (photo by Asha Robles)

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