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GECKOS ADVANCE TO FINALS IN 4 SETS

It was a tough four sets, but the GW Geckos have found their way back into a girls volleyball championship game with the big win over the ND Royals on Thursday night.

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By Asha Marie Robles

The chants from both teams were earsplitting as the GW Geckos had only one more point to win their semifinal game and advance into the championships, which they did. The Geckos defeated the ND Royals 26-24, 15-25, 25-23, 25-22 Tuesday night at their home gym in Mangilao. The Geckos secured the win after a Royals’ hitter overshot her spike, ending the fourth set at 25-22.

Gecko’s head coach Bobbi Quinata couldn’t help but laugh out the words, “Third times a charm”, as the Geckos beat the Royals in both regular season’s matches. “The girls performed well tonight. We are still preparing mentally for the championship, but for tonight’s game we took it one step at a time”, she added.

The Geckos and Royals went head-to-head in the beginning of the first set. It wasn’t until a Royals’ error at 12-12 would spark the Geckos and give them the lead. Samantha Quinata then added four points pushing the Geckos up 16-12.

The Royals had a few great fast kills by Destiny Castro and seemed to be catching up to the Geckos at 19-17. However, with a speedy kill that went through Royals’ blockers by Geckos’ Samyra Duenas, the Royals couldn’t take the lead.

With the ending of the first set tied at 24-24, a kill by Sia Duenas would once again give the Geckos’ the lead and with just a point left to win, a mistake by the Royals secured it.

“It felt good to win the opening set. I had to do something to pick my team up and to keep them going so im really happy with that,” said Sia Duenas on how she felt about contributing to their win during the first set.

The second set seemed to be a completely different game as the Royals outshined the Geckos, defeating them 25-15.

Sia Duenas stated, “Losing the second set was hard but we already knew the reason why we lost it. We lacked communication during that set but we told each other that we can win this and that we will win this match, so we did it”.

The Royals started off strong as setter Paris Blas banked in five points out of her six serves, leading her team with a 5-0 opener.

GW setter Samyra Duenas makes a nice outside set to her teammate for the kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW setter Samyra Duenas makes a nice outside set to her teammate for the kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

The Geckos continued to struggle behind serves from Royals’ Muñeka Taisipic who added five serves, three that were aces. The Geckos closest trail was at 16-13 but with a kill by Taisipic, the Royals continued to dominate throughout the set.

Coming out fierce for the Royals during the second set was Castro as she led her team in kills, two of which ended the set at 25-15.
After losing the second set, the Geckos were back in the game as they beat the Royals in the third set 25-23.

Head coach Quinata’s words of inspiration during the short intermission seemed to work. “I told the girls that they were only two sets away from the championship game, then it came down to points in the fourth set so it was really up to whoever wanted it more and they took it”, she stated.

Though the Royals took a 4-0 lead in the beginning behind Taisipic’s killer serves, the Geckos bounced right back after Sia Duneas banked in five of her serves. Leading 5-4, Royals’ Castro would slam one down to get the score at 5-5.

The Royals’ once again played catch up behind three back-to-back kills by Taisipic and tied the game at 11-11. From there, points would be handed back and forth between teams until the very end. Tied at 23-23, a mistake by the Royals would help give the Geckos a one-point lead. Needing only a single point left to end the set, Sia Duenas slammed down a hard kill to once again secure the win.

The fourth and final set of the evening looked much like the third as the Royals’ once again started off extremely strong, however could not capitalize on plays after trailing 14-13. Once the Geckos took the lead, it was a game of who wanted it more. The Geckos took it 25-22 behind teamwork, great passing, and fast hitting.

“Team wise, I think we did really good. We did have some downfalls, but we didn’t let that get to us and knew how to pick each other back up,” says Sia Duenas who led her team in kills.

Geckos’ head coach Quinata says that her girls just need to remember one thing in order to win the championship game, the F word. “They just have to focus. That’s how you win”, she said.

The championship match starting lineup for the Geckos include Samantha Quinata, Sia Duenas, Samyra Duenas, Jasmine Almoguera, Colleen Quinata, Kayana Leon Guerrero, and libero Ana Aguon.

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PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

GW Geckos celebrate defeating ND Royals in four sets to play in the championship game. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW Geckos celebrate defeating ND Royals in four sets to play in the championship game. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW Colleen Quinata makes a nice hit over Royals blocker in the first set. (Photo by Joey Blas)

GW Colleen Quinata makes a nice hit over Royals blocker in the first set. (Photo by Joey Blas)

ND Destiny Castro makes a nice hit down the middle of the court for the kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

ND Destiny Castro makes a nice hit down the middle of the court for the kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW middle blocker Jasmine Almoguera makes a nice block for the side out in the fourth set against ND. (photo by Joey Blas)

GW middle blocker Jasmine Almoguera makes a nice block for the side out in the fourth set against ND. (photo by Joey Blas)

ND blockers Demi Brennan and Kristi Stone deny Sia Duenas a hit at the net. (photo by Joey Blas)

ND blockers Demi Brennan and Kristi Stone deny Sia Duenas a hit at the net. (photo by Joey Blas)

Muneka Taisapic makes a nice hit by a gecko defender. (photo by Joey Blas)

Muneka Taisapic makes a nice hit by a gecko defender. (photo by Joey Blas)

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