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GECKOS DEFEND HOME AGAINST FRIARS

Since their week one loss the GW Geckos have not dropped a game, going on a 6-game tear heading into their Saturday night showdown with the FD Friars. After two straight sets, the GW Geckos would extend their streak to seven games after taking down the visiting Friars.

By Robert Balajadia

Since their week one loss to the defending champion Okkodo Bulldogs the GW Geckos have not lost a game, going on a 6-game tear heading into their Saturday night showdown with the FD Friars. After two straight sets, the GW Geckos would extend their streak to seven games after taking down the visiting Friars 25-18, 26-24.

Geckos star hitter Allen “Arm Cannon” Camacho had the last word in both sets, clocking in a powerful blow to close out the hard fighting Friars. Camacho’s most impressive shot came in the first set where he delivered a strong shot with his off-hand after having to adjust in mid-air.

Camacho’s final shot in the second set gave the Geckos the win, though it was well earned after both teams traded big leads which set up the exciting finish.

“FD played hard, they put up some tough defensive blocks,” said Camacho on the fighting Friars. “We feel good about this win, but we know that there’s still a lot more work to be done. We’re going to stay humble.”

GW Geckos Allen "Arm Cannon" Camacho is met by two FD blockers in the second set. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

GW Geckos Allen “Arm Cannon” Camacho is met by two FD blockers in the second set. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

The Geckos were the first to go on a 4-0 run in the second set to tie the game at six thanks to two big blocks from Mat Soto. The Geckos then started to create separation with Camacho serving them to an 18-12 lead, which included highlight reel smashes from Devin San Augustin and the “Arm Cannon” himself.

A timeout by Friars coach Steve Pangelinan had his team settle down and buckle in for a wild run. The Friars started to hack away at the six-point deficit with a big block and kill coming from Eric Ada. Kole Ada was at the controls for FD, serving up a 6-0 run to take a 19-18 lead.

San Augustin finally got the Geckos out of the slump, but it was short lived as FD fired back with another 4-0 run to take a 23-19 lead. Geckos head coach Ryan Balajadia called for time to try and give the roller-coaster 2nd set a fitting photo finish.

“Coach told us to start with a pass and once we establish that pass to work the outsides,” said Camacho of his father-coach in the huddle.

The freshman Nathaniel Kyle Gaitan came out strong with a kill to the Friar backside to get the crowd involved, but more importantly to get his team back 23-20. He followed up the kill with a serve-ace to further trim the lead.

FD Friars Leon Shimizu lets loose for a shot over two Gecko defenders. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

FD Friars Leon Shimizu lets loose for a shot over two Gecko defenders. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

image001GW’s Mat Soto sucked the gravity out of the gym with a hair-splitting shot that tagged the crown of FD Friars Cameron Miles to make it a single point game 23-22. An error by the Geckos gave FD a 24-23 lead but Soto once again got a strong arm on a shot to force extra points.

“We played really sloppy in the beginning of the set and FD did their job. They were just making better passes than us. We need to work a lot on our passes more during practice. I give FD a lot of props,” said Soto.

The Friars committed a formation error which set up Camcho’s late game heroics. Camacho fired away a strong shot to begin the volley, though the Friars defense dug it up and tried to answer back. The second time around, Camacho unloaded the finishing blow to FD’s back row, sinking their near-comeback.

The Geckos continue to improve on a weekly basis behind first year head coach Balajadia, who was a volleyball star in his own right during his heyday. Now, he’s the lead man behind the Geckos strong season as GW aims to capture their second volleyball title this school year with the girls taking the 2014 title in the IIAAG 1st quarter.

Other Scores

Harvest def. St. John’s 25-6, 25-15
Southern def. Guam High
Okkodo def. Tiyan

PHOTO GALLERY:

Geckos freshman Nathaniel Kyle Gaitan uses a tip to get over the taller Friar blockers. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Geckos freshman Nathaniel Kyle Gaitan uses a tip to get over the taller Friar blockers. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Geckos Philip Siguenza gets stuffed by Friars Kole Merfalen and Eric Ada. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Geckos Philip Siguenza gets stuffed by Friars Kole Ada and Eric Ada. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Friars De'Aundre Cruz goes up for a big slam. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Friars De’Aundre Cruz goes up for a big slam. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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COMING SOON …

Guam National Bodybuilding Championship June 29

Father Duenas Alumni Basketball Tournament

Guam National Triathlon Championship July 14

QUICK HITS

Ryleen Mya Castro was named team MVP for the St. Mary’s College of California Women’s Rugby team in only her sophomore season. Castro is a 2022 graduate from Guam High.
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Coach Donan Cruz and the U.S. Men’s U21 National Team took home gold at the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 27-25) win over Canada in Nogales, Mexico. The victory guaranteed the U.S. a spot in the 2025 FIVB U21 World Championship.

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