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FOLTA PROPELS KNIGHTS IN WIN

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by Niko Bulaon

Alex McCaroll of the Knights dives for the ball. (photo by Asha Robles)

Alex McCaroll of the Knights dives for the ball. (photo by Asha Robles)

The St. John’s Knights proved to be a strong team, defeating the Southern Dolphins in three thrilling sets, 25-21, 11-25, 28-26, Saturday night at the St. John’s gym.

Last season, St. John’s was defeated by the Dolphins during the quarterfinals in a minor upset, leading Southern to the final trophy: “We were excited for this game, we know Southern is a strong team. To beat them is a great accomplishment; we couldn’t have done it without working as a team,” commented Knights’ Kristina Folta on their preparation.

At the beginning of the third set, the Dolphins took a quick 5-0 lead behind three aces from Tanya Flores. The Knights’ multiple errors gave the Dolphins easy points, but a kill from Folta put St. John’s in the game. An ace from April Talledo, a kill by Lorraina Sanchez, and a couple of mistakes by the Knights kept Southern in the lead, 12-5.

McDonald's player of the game: Knights outside hitter, Kristian Folta.

McDonald’s player of the game: Knights outside hitter, Kristian Folta.

With the Knights still down, an ace by Folta boosted her team, bringing the score closer at 14-11. However, another ace by Flores and kills by Talledo and middle-blocker, Tianna Sakaba, brought Southern up by seven, 18-11. A mistake by the Dolphins gave St. John’s hope for a comeback; two back-to-back aces from Adriana Chang, a kill from Folta, and huge far-sided save by Christe‘An Iglesias cut the lead to two, 18-16.

Errors by Knights and Dolphins had both teams neck-on-neck with each other. A block by Knights’ Haley Cooper had the Knights right behind their opponents. A kill by Dolphins’ Brittany Quinata put her team a point away from the win, but an unfortunate error gave the Knights hope. Two aces by Alex McCarroll and errors by Southern tied the game 24-24. Multiple errors changed the lead until a tip by St. John’s Andrea Odell and a kill by Iglesias slipped by Southern’s defense, ending the game with an excited crowd.

“It was a real slap to the face,” said Folta, “After the second set, we were a little roughed up after that. We had energy and we pulled through.”

The first set started with no real lead; behind Folta and two aces by Gabby Paynter, the Knights stayed on top, but it wasn’t long till Sakaba stepped up. Aces by McCarroll sparked a small run; kills by Quinata and Sanchez had the Dolphins’ score close to their opponents, but Folta’s kills kept Southern in check. A huge block and kill by Cooper gave the Knights the first set advantage.

Dolphins' Lorraine Sanchez gets up high as she makes a spike. (photo by Asha Robles)

Dolphins’ Lorraine Sanchez gets up high as she makes a spike. (photo by Asha Robles)

The second set started in the hands of the Dolphins: three back-to-back aces from Flores had Southern up 5-1. With the Knights struggling, the Dolphins soon took off with aces and kills. Multiple errors by St. John’s put Southern up by 14, 22-8. An ace by Sakaba put her team at 24-10 and an untimely error by the Knights gave the Dolphins the second set.

“We’re going to remember how it is to lose big,” Folta said about the upcoming playoffs. “We have to learn how to jump back and break through the wall.”

Folta led the Knights with four kills and two aces. Flores led the Dolphins with eight aces with the help of teammate Sakaba with two kills and two aces.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Tianna Sakaba of the Dolphins gets up high in order to keep the ball off of her teams court. (photo by Asha Robles)

Tianna Sakaba of the Dolphins gets up high in order to keep the ball off of her teams court. (photo by Asha Robles)

Knights' outside hitter, Kristina Folta, gets up high as she spikes the ball over a Dolphin blocker. (photo by Asha Robles)

Knights’ outside hitter, Kristina Folta, gets up high as she spikes the ball over a Dolphin blocker. (photo by Asha Robles)

Chrisi Iglesias of the Knights gets behind the ball after receiving a spike. (photo by Asha Robles)

Chrisi Iglesias of the Knights gets behind the ball after receiving a spike. (photo by Asha Robles)

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