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MIX PLATE WINS ROYALS’ ALUMNI TOURNAMENT

ND Royals’ Alumni ‘Blaine Afaisen’ Volleyball Tournament wrapped up its first year Sunday night with Team Mix Plate defeating Notorious D.I.G. in two sets to take home the years first ever title.

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By Robert Balajadia

The Notre Dame ND Royals Alumni ‘Blaine Afaisen’ Volleyball Tournament wrapped up its first year Sunday night with Team Mix Plate defeating Notorious D.I.G. in two sets, 25-19, 29-27, to take home the tourney’s first-ever title.

Playing in memory of legendary volleyball coach Blaine Afaisen, Alumni from throughout Afaisen’s years of coaching, not just from ND, participated in the event which is already preparing for its second go around.

“We’re going to continue every year and every year is going to get bigger,” said referee John Afaisen and younger brother to coach Blaine. “I’ve got goosebumps. It’s great to see familiar faces from my brothers time. This years turnout is great. I thought it wasn’t going to happen. It’s amazing, my brother would be proud of us.”

The tournament started Friday with seven different teams playing in round robin format for a place in the tournament standings. Mix Plate finished pool play as the 2nd seeded team while Notorious D.I.G. were placed 5th.

D.I.G. took out the top seeded Mosas in the semifinals game while Mix Plate avoided an upset from the 6th place team Chagi.

The veterans of Team Mix Plate were in a battle with D.I.G. in the second set as the young guns were fighting to force a third and final set down 20-15 before making a run to quickly get back in the game.

D.I.G.’s Lester Mariano scored on back-to-back kills to tie the game at 22 when Mix Plate took a timeout to try and stop D.I.G.’s momentum. An error gave D.I.G. their first lead in any set 23-22, but Mix Plate would bounce back.

Battling for the 24th point, Mix Plate’s John Aguigui caught the D.I.G. defense off guard sending the ball towards the back line gaining the point.

Both teams would battle to a 27 tie before Mix Plate settled in and forced D.I.G. to beat them. Debbie Pangelinan got the final point for Mix Plate off a kill to secure the teams first ever title.

Coach, manager, and sister to coach Blaine, Bernice Sablan brought the team together and couldn’t be happier with the result as well as their teams success.

“It was awesome winning this tournament. I never expected to finish this high, but I’m really happy and I’m sure my brother is really happy as well. I tried to get my class of ’86 together, but most of them were too busy but I was able to get a bunch of players who have played under Blaine which is why we’re called ‘Mix Plate.'”

PHOTO GALLERY

Team Mix Plate celebrates after scoring the game winning point securing the 2014 champs. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Team Mix Plate celebrates after scoring the game winning point securing the 2014 champs. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Team Mix Plate playing tough to close out Notorious D.I.G. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Team Mix Plate playing tough to close out Notorious D.I.G. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Mix Plate's Christine Dewtiz sends the ball over the Notorious D.I.G. defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Mix Plate’s Christine Dewtiz sends the ball over the Notorious D.I.G. defense. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Mix Plate's John Aguigui soars for a late set kill. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Mix Plate’s John Aguigui soars for a late set kill. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Notorious D.I.G.'s Lester Mariano flies in for a kill. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Notorious D.I.G.’s Lester Mariano flies in for a kill. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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