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KNIGHTS FINISH SEASON STRONG

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By Robert Balajadia

Knights’ Haley Cooper spikes the ball as Royals’ Muneka Taisipi attempts to block the incoming ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ Haley Cooper spikes the ball as Royals’ Muneka Taisipi attempts to block the incoming ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

On the last game of the season, the St. John’s Knights spoiled the return of ND Royals’ Destiny Castro Monday night by beating them in three sets 26-28, 25-20, 25-20 at the Knights gym. Castro went to St. John’s her freshman year, but is now at ND as a sophomore.

It has been a memorable finish to the season for the Knights as they took down top rated teams in Southern, Sanchez, and now the Royals, proving that they are going to be a tough team in the playoffs.

The Knights and Royals battled to a 15-point tie in the third set before the Knights, behind serving from Kristina Folta, went on a late run to pull ahead 20-16. Castro and the Royals responded with an acrobatic kill to trim the lead 20-18 before Knights head coach Chris Shepherd called a time out.

The Royals managed to get as close as one point, 21-20, before the Knights closed out the game on a 4-0 run. Knights’ Adriana Chang picked up a nice kill to extend the lead 23-20, sucking the momentum away from the upstart Royals.

“Being our last home game of course we want to win this, but we have to look at every team at the same level. We can’t underestimate anyone and we always have to come out and play our hardest,” stated team captain Crisi Iglesias on the win.

Knights’ Chrisi Iglesias receives the server and attempts to bump it towards her team’s setter. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ Chrisi Iglesias receives the server and attempts to bump it towards her team’s setter. (photo by Jesse Castro)

After dropping an exciting first set, Iglesias and the Knights responded by taking a quick 4-0 lead in the second. The lead would fluctuate as Castro and Menuka Taisipic picked up kills to tie the set at eight.

The Knights battled through, getting kills from Folta, Chang, and Allyson Chiu to grab a 20-15 lead. ND fought back behind the serving of Caley Chargualaf to trim the lead 21-9, but the Knights capitalized on late Royal mistakes to pull away 25-20.

Castro got the final kill in the 28-26 first set win which gave the Royals the early momentum. However, Iglesias and the Knights made the right defensive adjustments to keep Castro from taking over.

Knights’ team captain Iglesias was one of the seniors possibly celebrating their last home game of the season. Iglesias played a vital part in the win against the Royals and she has her team ready for the upcoming playoffs no matter who they go up against.

“Our coach always keep the “Three C’s” in mind, which are confidence, consistency, and communication. Through out the season, we just need to keep that in mind and we will play our best,” said Iglesias on her teams strong finish.

St. John’s appears to be peaking at the right time, and with the playoffs tipping off this weekend, The Knights are looking as good as any team all season.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Royals’ outside hitter Destiny Castro kills the ball past the Knights’ blockers Chrisi Iglesias and Allyson Chiu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ outside hitter Destiny Castro kills the ball past the Knights’ blockers Chrisi Iglesias and Allyson Chiu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ hitter Kristina Folta was unable to get the ball beyond the Royals’ blockers Kristi Stone and Muneka Taisipi. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ hitter Kristina Folta was unable to get the ball beyond the Royals’ blockers Kristi Stone and Muneka Taisipi. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ hitter Muneka Taisipi spikes the ball into the Knights’ blockers Haley Cooper and Alex McCarroll. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ hitter Muneka Taisipi spikes the ball into the Knights’ blockers Haley Cooper and Alex McCarroll. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ setter Alex McCarroll puts the ball back up for an outside hit. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ setter Alex McCarroll puts the ball back up for an outside hit. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ Muneka Taisipi bumps up a blocked hit keeping the ball in play. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ Muneka Taisipi bumps up a blocked hit keeping the ball in play. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ Adriana Chang picks up a dink and passes the ball to her team’s setter. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights’ Adriana Chang picks up a dink and passes the ball to her team’s setter. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ Demie Brennan sets the ball up for an outside hit. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ Demie Brennan sets the ball up for an outside hit. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights take advantage of a timeout with Coach Shepherd. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights take advantage of a timeout with Coach Shepherd. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ Sheri Stanley blocks the spike from Knights’ Allyson Chiu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Royals’ Sheri Stanley blocks the spike from Knights’ Allyson Chiu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Royals gather around Coach Rabago during a timeout. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The Royals gather around Coach Rabago during a timeout. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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