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FRIARS SPOIL PANTHERS OPENER

The visiting FD Friars managed to spoil the season opener against the home team Guam High Panthers Monday evening during Week 2 of the boys volleyball season.

By Michael J.A. Nauta Jr.

While most teams have already gotten in a game or two in the IIAAG High School Boys Volleyball League, the Guam High Panthers kicked-off their season on Monday evening.

The Panthers played host to the visiting Father Duenas Friars. FD entered the game hoping to pick up a victory and remain unbeaten early in the season, while the Panthers were seeking a season-opening win.At the end of the night, things went in favor of the visitors who defeated the Panthers in straight-set (25-19, 25-22) fashion.

A quick an early start by the Panthers gave them a 1-0 lead after a service ace by Leon Bamba. However, on the very next play an error by Guam High equalized the game. Both teams eventually engaged in a teeter-totter match and began to trade points courtesy of numerous unforced errors. After knotting the games on six different occasions early in the set, the Panthers went on a mini rally capped by a kill from Hunter Yatar giving them a 14-12 lead.

Not willing to fall into a deeper deficit, the Friars got themselves right back into the game several plays later and tied the game at 18-18. The duo of Leon Shimizu and De’Aundre Cruz led the Friars scoring points on four kills and two blocks combined. Momentum continued to shift as the Friars eventually closed out the opening set after going on a 7-1 rally. The Friars Reynold “RJ” Rokop racked up three aces from the service line.

Kole Ada of the Friars fires a spike between the opposing blockers.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Kole Ada of the Friars fires a spike between the opposing blockers. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Second set action was much different from the first as the Friars looked to be in a comfort zone. Combined with several Panther errors, Father Duenas began the set building an 8-3 lead. Shimizu and teammate Kole Ada combined for four kills early on. Midway through the set, Guam High pulled to within three (15-12) points. However, defensive blocks at the net by Cruz ignited the Friars offense that rebuilt a 21-13 lead.

After returning from a timeout called, the Panthers seemed rejuvenated and kept the home crowd at the edge of their seats. A thunderous kill by Kurt Edusada followed by an ace from Yatar ignited a fire in the Panthers offense as they narrowed their gap to 21-19. Moments later, the Friars put themselves at match point after back-to-back kills by Cruz and Shimizu.

Guam High put a brief halt and added two points to their side of the board making it a 24-22 game. Denying a chance of going into a third set, the Friars’ Cruz closed out the game with a kill.

The Friars were led by the trio of Rokop, Shimizu, and Cruz. Rokop was credited with 11 assists and serving up eight aces. Meanwhile, Shmizu and Cruz combined for ten kills in the game. Guam High’s Bamba and Yatar combined for five aces and three kills in the losing effort.

With the victory, the Friars improve their season record to 2-0, while the Panthers start their season 0-1. The Friars return to action Tuesday night as they take on the Tiyan Titans at FD. Guam High will host the St. Thomas Lions in a Junior Varsity only match.

In JV action, the Friars defeated the Panthers in an exciting three-set game. The only other game of the night featured the Notre Dame Royals hosting the GW Geckos. GW picked up the varsity victory in straight sets.

PHOTO GALLERY:

 Kole Ada blasts a spike through an opposing Panther's block.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Kole Ada blasts a spike through an opposing Panther’s block. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Henry Haight of the Panthers gets up to blast one over the net.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Henry Haight of the Panthers gets up to blast one over the net. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Guam High blockers are not able to keep up with a wicked spike from Eric Ada.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The Guam High blockers are not able to keep up with a wicked spike from Eric Ada. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

De'Aundre Cruz of the Friars kills a spike while avoiding the block.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

De’Aundre Cruz of the Friars kills a spike while avoiding the block. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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