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FRIARS RISE OVER EAGLES

Jeremiah Taitano and the FD Friars feel like they can hang with the best in the IIAAG Boys’ Volleyball League and they proved that with a rousing win over the first place Harvest Eagles on Friday night at the FD gym.

By Kolby Chang

Jeremiah Taitano and the FD Friars feel like they can hang with the best in the IIAAG Boys’ Volleyball League and they proved that with a rousing 25-16, 22-25, 27-25 win over the first place HCA Eagles on Friday night at the FD gym.

“We feel good but I guess we’re still not at our peak. I think we’re possibly the best team this season and we can only improve from here,” the team captain said when asked what a victory over the league’s top squad feels like.

Confidence is crucial in winning tight games especially with the league so top heavy this year. Taitano added that the Friars are riding high right now after a hard fought contest.

Players from Harvest and FD get up high as they try to get the ball of each others side of the court. (photo by Asha Robles)

Players from Harvest and FD get up high as they try to get the ball of each others side of the court. (photo by Asha Robles)

“We were hyped. We never had a crowd this big before. Our hits were connecting,” Taitano said.

The home team looked good from the start as they took the early lead and never relinquished it. The second set, however, was a different story as the Eagles came out guns blazing and got up 10-3 after Marlon Evans tipped the ball past the Friar defense. The visitors were still up big later in the set after Isiah Lagutang crushed down a kill to make it 19-12.

The Friars crept back into the fold with some sharp play and got within two points of the lead when Bruce Merrill fired off an ace to make the score 23-21. The home team tried but they couldn’t pull out the straight set victory as Evans closed out the set in favor of the Eagles with another tipped ball.

The two teams when punch for punch in the final set and the crowd seemed to love every minute of it as the gym resonated loudly with cheers after each point scored. With the set knotted at 19, an Eagles’ error swung the momentum over to the Friars but neither team could gain an sizable edge. It was tied again at 21 after Merrill threw down a kill. Shortly after the Eagles’ Jordan Javellana answered with a kill his own to tie it at 22.

Friars’ Jeremiah Taitano spikes the ball over the net. (photo by Asha Robles)

Friars’ Jeremiah Taitano spikes the ball over the net. (photo by Asha Robles)

The Friars had it at match point on what was initially ruled a kill but after a referee’s deliberation the call was reversed and the score was tied at 23. The Eagles seized the moment and went up by one after Kobe Sotello’s kill but the visitors committed an error on the next play to tie it once more. A Friars’ error put the Eagles up by one but Reynold Rokop shot down a kill and two consecutive errors by the Eagles sealed the win for the home team.

The Friars now stand at 6-3, while the Eagles drop to 7-2.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Bruce Merrill of the Friars jumps up high and gets ready to spike the ball. (photo by Asha Robles)

Bruce Merrill of the Friars jumps up high and gets ready to spike the ball. (photo by Asha Robles)

Libero Misaki Cramer of the Eagles gets low as he digs the ball.  (photo by Asha Robles)

Libero Misaki Cramer of the Eagles gets low as he digs the ball. (photo by Asha Robles)

Eagles’ setter Marlon Evans kneels down as he sets up his teammate. (photo by Asha Robles)

Eagles’ setter Marlon Evans kneels down as he sets up his teammate. (photo by Asha Robles)

Justin Dimla of the Friars makes a big block as he defends his side of the net. (photo by Asha Robles)

Justin Dimla of the Friars makes a big block as he defends his side of the net. (photo by Asha Robles)

Isiah Lagutang of the Eagles blasts the ball over Friar blockers. (photo by Asha Robles)

Isiah Lagutang of the Eagles blasts the ball over Friar blockers. (photo by Asha Robles)

Friars’ Jeremiah Taitano gets up as he tips the ball over an Eagles’ blocker.(photo by Asha Robles)

Friars’ Jeremiah Taitano gets up as he tips the ball over an Eagles’ blocker.(photo by Asha Robles)

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COMING SOON …

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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