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COUGARS SMASH VISITING DOLPHINS

The Academy Cougars are steam rolling into the playoffs with their last regular season game ending in two-set dominant fashion over the Southern Dolphins at the always rocking Cougar gym Tuesday night.

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By Robert Balajadia

The Academy Cougars are steam rolling into the playoffs with their last regular season game ending in blowout fashion over the Southern Dolphins 25-13, 25-15 at the always rocking Cougar gym Tuesday night.

The Dolphins seven game win streak was snapped by a Cougar squad that has dialed  way down on the “defending champs” talk and are just intent on executing in the playoffs which are set to commence this Thursday.

“We’re laser focused and doing everything we need to do to be as prepared as we can. We have to play every point and we can’t rely on the other team on committing errors so we have to control the points we can, including good execution on offense,” said head coach Manny Guarin.

Academy battled with Southern in the first set to a 10-8 score before Cyndi Scott took over serving. With Scott at the helm, the Cougars rallied to take a 19-9 lead, scoring nine straight points, including big time kills from Jasie Villanueva to run away with the set. Southern struggled with kills and passes that prevented them from getting back into the game during the first set.

The Cougars then quickly jumped into a 12-5 lead after a kill from Ha’Ani San Nicolas early in the second set, but the Dolphins showed grit by weathering the Cougars to make a small run to trim the big lead.

Dolphins April Talledo got back-to-back kills after two straight Cougar errors to inch back into a 16-12 game. Talledo would then let loose a pretty jump serve that the Cougars could not return to get within 18-15 to keep Southern alive.

Academy then made a momentous play that gave them the final push to end the game.

Dolphins Brittany Quinata got a good hit on the ball which prompted Cougars setter Mya Sanchez to dive and dig the possible kill. Sanchez got a decent lift on it allowing teammate Dawn Makio to bump a perfect pass to San Nicolas who get a strong shot off to the Dolphins front line. Southern dug out the kill, but Cougars’ Blas came storming over the net and with just one shot, she gave the Cougars a definitive 19-13 lead.

 Joie Blas of the Cougars blast a spike right past the block of Dolphin, April Talledo.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Joie Blas of the Cougars blast a spike right past the block of Dolphin, April Talledo. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Academy went on to finished the game on a 6-2 run to end the Dolphins night while capturing sole possession of first place in the Gadao Division. The Cougars have turned in an impressive second half of the season though every game from this point on is win or go home.

“We feel like everyone wants to beat us, so there is pressure on us, but that just makes us want to beat them even more,” said Sanchez.

The most dangerous part of the Cougars game is their serving, which was on point against the Dolphins, and that they often play mistake free volleyball. The most important part of their game? They’re winning and they’re all just having fun.

“We have fun when we’re winning so it all just works out!” admitted setter Sanchez. “Tonight was the game to decided where we are in the standings, so we just wanted to win.”

“At the end of the season it really comes down to a lot of mental preparation. I feel like being excited and having that energy after the match is really important,” said Guarin.

Varsity

Academy def. Southern 25-13, 25-15

GW def. Notre Dame 21-25, 25-14, 25-18

Junior Varsity

St. Thomas def. Guam High 25-7, 28-26

Southern at Academy

GW def. Notre Dame in two sets

2014 Girls Volleyball Standings

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

Brittany Quinata of the Dolphins airs-out in preparation to spike towards the Cougars.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Brittany Quinata of the Dolphins airs-out in preparation to spike towards the Cougars. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Dolphins front row blocker, Marlisah Tenorio, misses a spike sent from Cyndi Scott of the Cougars.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Dolphins front row blocker, Marlisah Tenorio, misses a spike sent from Cyndi Scott of the Cougars. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Joie Blas of the Cougars rips a spike past Marlisah Tenorio to put the Cougars one point away from winning the match.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Joie Blas of the Cougars rips a spike past Marlisah Tenorio to put the Cougars one point away from winning the match. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Cyndi Scott blasts a spike through the block of Isanna Taijeron to put the Cougars up in the second set of the game.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Cyndi Scott blasts a spike through the block of Isanna Taijeron to put the Cougars up in the second set of the game. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

April Talledo of the Dolphins reaches out for full power before a spike in the first set of the game.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

April Talledo of the Dolphins reaches out for full power before a spike in the first set of the game. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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