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COUGARS GET REDEMPTION IN REMATCH

The Academy Cougars split the season series between the ND Royals by getting a big win on their senior night where they honored lone senior on the team Muneka Taisipic.

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By Jose Terlaje

You could feel the energy from the crowd the moment you entered the Notre Dame gymnasium, with many fans coming out to support the Royals on their last regular season home game against their longtime rival, the AOLG Cougars. It was the Royals’ senior night and the bleachers were filled with supporters wearing custom t-shirts made just for this game in support of the only senior on the team, Muneka Taisipic.

The game ended up being uneventful for the Royals (9-6) as they went on to lose this rematch with the Cougars (11-2) in two sets 25-15, 25-23

“Our first game against ND was very early in the season. The team has really matured. Our offense has gotten quicker and our defense is a lot stronger. We’re a much smarter team this time. We practiced tactically and came prepared for this game,” said Cougars head coach, Manny Guarin, when asked how the Cougars were different in this game compared to their first matchup with the Royals who defeated the Cougars in straight sets the first time around.

The Cougars came into the game ready to redeem themselves against their rivals, dominating the first set, starting off with a 9-0 run lead by big kills coming from the Cougars Cydni Scott and Juliana Nelson with Mya Sanchez contributing a pair of aces.

The Royals Destiny Castro then came out swinging, hammering down two straight kills to get the Royals going, making the score 10-3. Academy’s Scott came up with a big block on the next play but was answered immediately by Castro, sending another rocket spike straight into the floor to keep the Royals in the game 11-4.

The Royals were plagued with errors throughout the set, giving up a number of free points to the Cougars. The Cougars kept up the pace, going on another scoring run lead by sophomore Joie Blas who was practically shooting lasers into the floor to keep Academy up 19-10. The Royals Taisipic then tried to get her team back in the game, scoring four of the Royals’ last five points off two huge kills and a pair of aces but her efforts could not spark her team’s offense and the Cougars closed out the first set 25-15.

With majority of the crowd being in their favor, the Royals would not go down at their home court without a fight, starting the second set off strong.  After an ace by Taisipic, the Royals Castro caught fire, putting holes in the floor with three devastating spikes in a row. Taisipic then served up another ace to put the Royals up 8-1, forcing the Cougars to call a timeout.

 Royals hitter, Destiny Castro, sends a spike straight into the block of Cyndi Scott during the first set.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Royals hitter, Destiny Castro, sends a spike straight into the block of Cyndi Scott during the first set. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

After the timeout, Scott picked up her defense, throwing a block party at the net, getting her team back in the game with three straight points off of blocks. Jasie Villanueva and Blas then knocked down two kills to continue the run, bringing the Cougars within one point with the score 8-7.

A string of errors from both sides kept the game tight but another block by the Cougars’ Scott followed by Nelson bringing down the hammer with a vicious spike put AOLG up 16-15, causing the Royals to call a timeout. The Cougars maintained the lead from this point on, determined to get the win despite the roaring crowd cheering on the Royals.

With the pressure greatly building up, more errors from both teams occurred but an ace by the Villanueva put AOLG up 24-22. Another error by the Cougars brought the Royals within one point of tying up the game but the Cougars’ Blas blasted the ball straight down the middle on the next play to seal the victory for the Cougars in straights sets 25-15, 25-23.

When asked about what he said to the Cougars during the timeout called early in the second set Guarin replied, “I told the girls volleyball is all about runs and that when we’re down, we have to play each point as if it is the last point of the game and I think the girls really listened to it, causing them to perform well.”

A big impact in the game for the Cougars was sophomore Joie Blas, who had big shoes to fill, taking the place of senior Kyra Lee due to an injury. “I had to step up and wanted to prove to my coach and my team that I am capable of performing at a high level, like Kyra, especially because someone has to play her role while she is recovering” replied Blas, when asked about her breakout performance in the game. Blas added that prayer and trusting in her team also helped improve her performance.

Cougars front row hitter, Cyndi Scott, dinks the ball over to put the Cougars up with a big lead in the first set.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Cougars front row hitter, Cyndi Scott, dinks the ball over to put the Cougars up with a big lead in the first set. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Varsity

GAA def. Guam High 25-27, 27-25, 25-17 (GAA 1st win of the season!)

St. John’s def. JFK 25-18, 25-10

Harvest def. St. Paul 25-18, 25-12

Okkodo def. Sanchez 25-20, 25-18

Academy def. Notre Dame 25-15, 25-23

BYE: GW

Junior Varsity

JFK def. St. John’s 16-25, 26-24, 25-20

Harvest def. St. Paul 25-16, 25-18

Okkodo def. Sanchez 25-20, 13-25, 25-18

St. Thomas def. Southern 26-24, 25-19

Academy def. Notre Dame 25-22, 25-16

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2014 Girls Volleyball Standings

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Wil Castro

VBall 7

Jasie Villanueva of the Cougars blasts a spike through the Royals blockers to put them in winning position in the final set. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

VBall 6

Destiny Castro of the Royals sends a spike right past Cyndi Scott and Dawn Makio to put the Royals on a rally to catch up to the Cougars.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Destiny Castro of the Royals sends a spike right past Cyndi Scott and Dawn Makio to put the Royals on a rally to catch up to the Cougars. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Mya Sanchez of the Cougars winds up for a serve while on a hot streak, scoring eight points just from the serving position.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Mya Sanchez of the Cougars winds up for a serve while on a hot streak, scoring eight points just from the serving position. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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