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BULLDOGS IMPROVE TO 3-0 IN EARLY TEST

The defending champs survived an early-season test from last year’s top regular-season team Harvest Eagles Saturday night.

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The defending Boys IIAAG Volleyball champion Okkodo Bulldogs passed another test Friday night after defeating the Harvest Eagles in three sets (24-26, 25-19, 25-19) at Harvests’ home court to improve to 3-0 for the season. Down 14-5 in the third and decisive set, the Bulldogs dug deep and came back to win the third set 25-19.

Ian Ilagas had five kills in the final set, with his last kill being the game winner. The Eagles, who had the best regular season last year, played their first game of the season with nine seniors on their roster arriving this morning at 2am from their senior class trip. Isiah Lagutang, a senior who had three monster kills in the final set, said that their trip is not an excuse for losing the game.

“There’s no excuses, we have to be stronger mentally and finish better,” said Lagutang.

Isiah Lagutang of Harvest sends a wicked spike over the net early on in the second set.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Isiah Lagutang of Harvest sends a wicked spike over the net early on in the second set. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Final set

Marlon Evans was on point with his setting to start the third game hooking up Brandon McAuslen, Kobe Sotelo, and Lagutang to take a 14-5 lead.

It was a downward spiral from there for the Eagles after they committed four unforced errors as the Bulldog faithful smelled blood and began chanting “who let the dogs out”.

Gary Aromin catapulted the Bulldogs to the lead from the service line serving eight straight points which included an ace. Aromin had help from Ilagas and Bryan Crow who each had two kills during the run.

The Eagles were unable to get anything going after surrendering the lead with bad passing and mental breakdowns which allowed the Bulldogs to celebrate at the end with an emphatic kill Ilagas.

“We knew we could come back (after being down in the third set 14-5), we just needed to shake off our mistakes and play our game,” said Ilagas. Ilagas said that the Harvest team is filled with talent and the Bulldogs need to work really hard to repeat as champions.

Ian Ilagas of Okkodo gets up to send a spike straight down into the court.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ian Ilagas of Okkodo gets up to send a spike straight down into the court. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

“Harvest is a really good setting team, it confused our transition back. That’s something we need to work on,” said Ilagas.

In the first set, the Eagles trailed until the final points to win 26-24 in dramatic fashion. The Bulldogs looked focused coming into the game, maintaining a four to five point lead until the final moments.

Sotelo recorded his third kill of the opening set to get the Eagles within a point, trailing 21-22. Both teams traded points until Lagutang recorded a kill that forced the game to a deuce at 24-24. Evans then took over in the middle, faking a set that turned into a kill to go up 25-24. On the ensuing play, Evans and Ben Weigand combined for a block to secure the first game.

In the second set, the Eagles went up early 3-0 with good defense from Eagle libero Misaki Cramer. Okkodo found its rhythm and went on a 6-0 run with Aiden Ferrera coming up big with two outside kills to go up 20-15.

The Eagles tried to start a rally but a pancake save by Ilagas lifted the confidence for the Bulldogs as they went on to win the second set 25-19.

“We have to come back strong from this game. We got to learn how push forward when it comes to crunch time and stick together,” said Lagutang. “I think we can learn from today’s loss. We can fix our passing, hitting and everything; it’s our mental game that matters most”.

Lagutang had six kills for the game for the Eagles, Ilagas had nine kills for the Bulldogs.

Other Scores

Sanchez def. Tiyan

 

PHOTO GALLERY:

Isiah Lagutang sends one from the back row.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Isiah Lagutang sends one from the back row. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ben Wiegand and Isiah Lagtang go up for the double block on Aiden Ferrara.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ben Wiegand and Isiah Lagtang go up for the double block on Aiden Ferrara. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Brandon McAuslen of Harvest blasts a spike in an opening of the Okkodos defense.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Brandon McAuslen of Harvest blasts a spike in an opening of the Okkodos defense. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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