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EAGLES SERVE FRIARS FIRST LOSS

The sleeping giants are awake. After dropping their IIAAG boys volleyball league season opener to the Okkodo Bulldogs, the Harvest Eagles won four straight games including a straight set victory Monday night over the previously undefeated FD Friars at the Eagles’ home gym.

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The sleeping giants are awake. After dropping their IIAAG boys volleyball league season opener to the Okkodo Bulldogs, the Harvest Eagles won four straight games including a straight set (25-19, 25-17) victory Monday night over the previously undefeated FD Friars at the Eagles’ home gym.

It was a highly anticipated matchup with the overcrowded Harvest gym filled with both Eagle and Friar Nation fans. In the end, the maroon and gold walked out in disappointment, dropping their first loss of the season to fall to 3-1.

Harvest's Marlon Evans sets the ball to the outside hitter for the assist in the kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest’s Marlon Evans sets the ball to the outside hitter for the assist in the kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

The playoff-like atmosphere was tense, but the Eagles (4-1) felt no pressure and played their game to send a huge message to the rest of the league and to the Bulldog players watching in the stands. The Eagles limited their errors and closed out the set after taking a huge lead, which they were unable to do in their only loss to the Bulldogs.

“I felt that in our first game we were depending too much on individual efforts. Some off us stepped but it wasn’t a team effort; we’ve learned to push every point as a team,” said last seasons MVP setter Marlon Evans.

Evans, a senior, caused havoc on the Friars with his accurate sets, blocking, and heads up play at the net. He confused the Friars on four different occasions with last second adjustment sets as the Friar defense anticipated the traditional bump, set, spike. “We are motivated, we also have a great desire to win since last season’s semi-final loss,” said Evans.

Opening Set

The Eagles executed early to go up 5-1 with Brandon McAuslen, Kobe Sotelo, and Isiah Lagutang each recording kills to open up the contest.

The Friars quickly regrouped and went on a 6-0 run with setter RJ Rokop behind the service line to take a 12-9 lead. Kole Ada and libero Jeffrey Ochavillo were key players during the run with Ada getting a kill and Ochavillo providing good passes.

The Eagles, sensing a momentum shift, called a timeout and returned championship form. Sotelo got the Eagle fans cheering with an emphatic slam to tie the contest at 19-19. Evans followed up with a block in the middle and perfect setting as the Eagles went on a 6-0 run to close out the first set with a 25-19 victory. McAuslen had the final kill of the first set thanks to a reverse set from Evans.

Second Set

The Friars were looking to regroup and come out swinging in the second set but libero Misaki Cramer was ready. Cramer did not let anything land in Eagle territory, diving and digging his way to help his team to 5-1 advantage.

Cramer was instrumental in the second set with accurate passing to setter Evans which created kills for McAuslen, Lagutang, and Ben Weigand to lead comfortably, 15-4.

The Friars did not go down without a fight. Middle blocker De’Aundre Cruz skied for a highlight kill that got the Friar Nations fan cheering. Eric Ada went off for three kills to cut the deficit to 16-10 which forced Harvest to call a timeout.

After the timeout, the Eagles went to senior Lagutang who recorded an outside kill followed by a combined block by Evans and McAuslen to seal the victory.

FD's De'Aundre Cruz and teammate Ray Gudmalin go up and block a shot at the net for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s De’Aundre Cruz and teammate Ray Gudmalin go up and block a shot at the net for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

“We let a lead slip one time against Okkodo, so we just tell each other in the huddles that we will not let a lead slip away again,” said Cramer.

image001In their first game against Okkodo, the Eagles had a 10 point lead in the final set, but the lead and momentum slipped away which caused a meltdown.

“We really focus on just getting a sideout and put more points up on the board,” added Cramer.

Eric Ada had a game high 6 kills for the Friars, Kole Ada contributed 3 kills. Sotelo, Lagutang, and McAuslen each recorded 4 kills for the Eagles in a balanced scoring attack. Evans also had a game high 4 blocks.

“One thing we learned is that we have to play for each other; not ourselves, and to not let the ball drop,” said Cramer who had 16 successful passes.

In the junior varsity game, the Eagles came back to win in three sets (17-25, 25-11, 25-19) to also hand the FD Friars their first loss of the season. The Friars are now 3-1, the Eagles improve to 3-2.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Harvest's Isaih Tydingco prepares to serve in the second set to get the win over the Friars in two sets. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest’s Isaih Tydingco prepares to serve in the second set to get the win over the Friars in two sets. (photo by Joey Blas)

Marlon Evans fakes a backset to the outside hitter and dumps it over for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

Marlon Evans fakes a backset to the outside hitter and dumps it over for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest's Isiah Lagutang serves in the second set against FD Friars. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest’s Isiah Lagutang serves in the second set against FD Friars. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD's Leon Shimizu prepares to serve in the second set against Harvest. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Leon Shimizu prepares to serve in the second set against Harvest. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD's Jeffrey Ochavillo makes a nice pass to the setter in the front line. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Jeffrey Ochavillo makes a nice pass to the setter in the front line. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest's Isiah Lagutang aces a serve to go up by four points in the second set. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest’s Isiah Lagutang aces a serve to go up by four points in the second set. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD's Kole Ada prepares to make a dig to keep the volley alive for the Friars. (photo by Joey Blas)

FD’s Kole Ada prepares to make a dig to keep the volley alive for the Friars. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest's Sean Evans hits one past a defender towards the sideline for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest’s Sean Evans hits one past a defender towards the sideline for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest Kobe Sotelo was able to get one past a defender in the second set. (photo by Joey Blas)

Harvest Kobe Sotelo was able to get one past a defender in the second set. (photo by Joey Blas)

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COMING SOON …

  • IIAAG & ISA Championships
  • YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE KICKOFF June 4
  • GSPN Boys Volleyball All-Star Game
  • Pacific Mini-Games in Saipan

QUICK HITS

Sisters CiMara-Lei (10th) and CiHara-Lei (9th) Wessling both made the Academic All-District Team playing for Veterans Memorial High softball team in Converse, TX.
They are the daughters of former star quarterback and pitcher Chris ‘Cool Breeze’ Wessling and wife Missy.
CiMara-Lei was also named the league’s Newcomer of the Year after the family moved from Dallas to San Antonio.
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Austia Mendiola made it to the California state pairs finals in collegiate beach volleyball before losing to Monterey Peninsula.
Playing for San Diego Mesa College, Mendiola and her partner made it to the finals out of 32 top women’s college teams in the state.

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