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MISSION TIANJIN: VOLLEYBALL

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By Robert Balajadia

The women’s volleyball team of national hopefuls will be the only volleyball team representing Guam in the 2013 VI East Asian Games in Tianjin, China.  Head coach Dan Hattig and assistant coach Ray Mantanona have the task of getting the girls ready for majority of the players’ first East Asian games.  Preaching to start developing a gold medal winners mentality has set the tone for their practices, and the girls have been responding.

2000px-Tianjin2013.svgTeams Participating:

  • China
  • Chinese Taipei
  • Guam
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • North Korea
  • South Korea
  • Macau
  • Mongolia

One of key issues coach Hattig has had to deal with is the health of the 13 players on the team.  He stressed that outside and extra curricular sporting activities need to be on put hold as the team prepares for a pool of Asia’s best.

Gemma Datuin and Joneen Terlaje start off by leading the girls in practice. (GSPN photo)

Gemma Datuin and Joneen Terlaje start off by leading the girls in practice. (GSPN photo)

Coach Hattig has been coaching national volleyball for both men and women since he came back to the Guam in 1996.

Assistant coach Mantanona has a lot of coaching experience from his time playing on the men’s national volleyball team to coaching middle and high school volleyball, though this will be his first time in coaching on the national scene.

Mantanona broke down some of the teams strengths and weaknesses by saying, “Our ability to have players play different positions is a big strength.  The team is close to each other and they get along really well and have good cohesiveness.  Our weakest area is having the experience at competing at that level, being that we’re so far away from the other countries that play at such a high caliber.”

With inexperience being a factor, the team will rely on the veteran leadership of 32-year-old Tatiana Sablan, who has been practicing with the national volleyball team for the past five years.  One of the things Sablan is hoping to gain from the East-Asian Games is growth as a player and growth as a team.

From a leadership standpoint, Sablan explained, “I try and follow the guidelines of the coach and he really pushes us to lead by example.  We went to the Phillipines recently to find that level of play off-island and that really showed us that when the pressure us on, one-by-one we start pushing back.  That gave me hope that when we go out there, there’s no way we’re not going to push back.”

Tatiana Sablan and the girls volleyball team will carry Guam on their backs in the 2013 VI East-Asian Games. (GSPN photo)

Tatiana Sablan and the girls volleyball team will carry Guam on their backs in the 2013 VI East-Asian Games. (GSPN photo)

One of the rising talents of the 2013 national hopefuls is Maria Wahl, who coach Mantanona explained has developed into the type of “wall” the team needs.  Despite having an older brother, Derrick Wahl, who played for the men’s national volleyball team, Maria feels no pressure in living up to her brothers success.

“We are each different individuals and he and I have different strengths,” stated Maria.  Instead, she focuses on getting her girls ready for the East Asian Games as best she can. “I try and show them the bigger picture and that it is time to represent Guam and not just play for ourselves, but for the flag we have over our shoulders.”

Sablan and Wahl are just a couple of the talented girls who are getting ready to serve up a medal for Guam, here are the list of national hopefuls:

  • Cathrine Aquinde
  • Kendra Byrd
  • Colleen Cruz
  • Gemma Datuin
  • Mary Gillan
  • Kara Guerrero
  • Shanniqua Mendiola
  • Camaryn Rupley
  • Tatiana Sablan
  • Joneen Terlaje
  • Maria Wahl
  • Emma Gatewood
  • Jessica Nunez

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Maria Wahl demonstrating a proper spike. (GSPN photo)

Maria Wahl demonstrating a proper spike. (GSPN photo)

Coach Ray observing the girls in the early part of practice. (GSPN photo)

Coach Ray observing the girls in the early part of practice. (GSPN photo)

Joneen Salas went hard in the hitting drills, sending down another thunderous spike. (GSPN photo)

Joneen Salas went hard in the hitting drills, sending down another thunderous spike. (GSPN photo)

Mary Gillan using her length to reach for the extended ball. (GSPN photo)

Mary Gillan using her length to reach for the extended ball. (GSPN photo)

Coach Hattig serving the volleyballs while the girls practice blocking drills. (GSPN photo)

Coach Hattig serving the volleyballs while the girls practice blocking drills. (GSPN photo)

A look at practice from a volleyball's standpoint. (GSPN photo)

A look at practice from the ball-rack. (GSPN photo)

Coach Ray giving girls direction in one of the drills. (GSPN photo)

Coach Ray giving girls direction in one of the drills. (GSPN photo)

Camryn Rupley demonstrating good ball location and placement. (GSPN photo)

Camryn Rupley demonstrating good ball location and placement. (GSPN photo)

The 2013 girls team may not have the experience of playing in the East-Asian Games, but they are learning every step of the way. (GSPN photo)

The 2013 girls team may not have the experience of playing in the East-Asian Games, but they are learning every step of the way. (GSPN photo)

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