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RAIDERS CLAIM VOLLEYBALL TOP SPOT

The St. Anthony Lady Raiders volleyball team needed to win Tuesday night to secure sole possession of first place, and they did just that after dropping the Santa Barbara Spartans in two sets.

By Robert Balajadia

The St. Anthony Lady Raiders volleyball team (7-1) needed to win Tuesday night to secure sole possession of first place, and they did just that after dropping the (5-3) Santa Barbara Spartans in two sets 25-14, 25-16.

While rocking Christmas holiday socks, the Raiders were able to jump out to large leads in the both sets after strong serving produced runs that gave them momentum.

Battling in a close first set with the Spartans leading 6-5, Raiders Jackie Martinez then took over shaving off six straight points for her team as St. Anthony jumped out to an 11-6 lead. Spartans Mariana Tamayo had a hand on a kill that brought the Spartans back to get within 13-10, and errors by the Raiders added to the short Spartan run at 13-12.

Raiders Nicole Gandaoli then squashed the run with a pair of aces that turned into an 18-13 lead for the Raiders as they began to pull away. Raiders Rayven Benavente served up four straight points and Isabel Itliong-Cruz handed out the final kills to close out the first at 25-15.

Ashley Gonzales of the Lady Raiders gets up to slam a spike over the net.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ashley Gonzales of the Lady Raiders gets up to slam a spike over the net. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Dharma Cooper served the Spartans to an early 4-1 lead in the second set, though the Raiders settled down midway through to recapture the lead with Gandaoli at the helm. Back-to-back aces by Gandaoli got the Raiders a 7-5 lead and they wouldn’t look back.

Combined with errors by the Spartans, Itliong-Cruz cashed in on two kills that gave the Raiders a 16-11 lead. More errors allowed the Raiders to climb up to 20-12, capped off by an Itliong-Cruz ace.

Laressa Halladay gave the Spartans a brief spark for three straight points to cut the lead 22-15, but Raiders Monica Giger had her hand on the final point of the season for St. Anthony, getting a kill to land dead center of the Spartan defense to end the game 25-16 and secure first place.

The Raiders take first place over the St. John’s Knights as they hold the tie-breaker after defeating the Knights, giving them their only loss of the season, in a big game last Thursday.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Jaqueline Martinez of the Lady Raiders scores six points in a row from the serving position in the first set.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Jaqueline Martinez of the Lady Raiders scores six points in a row from the serving position in the first set. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ashley Mindiola gets a spike past Patricia Halladay.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ashley Mindiola gets a spike past Patricia Halladay. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Raina Patague of the Spartans blasts a spike over to the Lady Raiders.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Raina Patague of the Spartans blasts a spike over to the Lady Raiders. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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