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GECKOS DROP COUGARS IN FINALS REMATCH

In a rematch of last year’s championship game, the Academy Cougars and GW Geckos let it all out on the court as they eagerly looked to gain their first win of the season. The cougars looked poised to make a strong debut with a good mix of experienced veterans, but it would be the pre-season tournament champion Geckos who would come out with the hard fought (25-18, 25-23) victory.

By John Baza

In a rematch of last year’s championship game, the Academy Cougars and GW Geckos let it all out on the court as they eagerly looked to gain their first win of the season.

The cougars looked poised to make a strong debut with a good mix of experienced veterans, but it would be the pre-season tournament champion Geckos who would come out with the hard fought (25-18, 25-23) victory.

First set

Player of the game Colleen Quinata played a big part in the win.

Player of the game Colleen ‘Coco’ Quinata played a big part in the win.

With the game starting off steady, it was the Cougars’ Uriyah Tobiason getting things started as she landed the first kill of the game (2-1).

Fellow teammate Renee Finona got the home crowd fired up with her first kill as the Cougars trailed (4-6). But the Geckos’ Sia Duenas and Samantha Quinata made short work of the effort as they each landed kills of their own.

Samantha Quinata would extend the lead with another kill, but Academy’s Finona had an answer as she landed a ferocious kill to answer back. She would then go on to serve 3 straight aces to keep her team in it (8-10).

With the Cougars’ Julianna Nelson getting good looks with the ball, she was finally able to record kill, but despite the effort the Geckos kept them at bay as they went up (11-17).

The Geckos’ Colleen Quinata came through in the run as she recorded consistent hits from the front row to keep her team ahead before she would finally set her team up with a 24-15 match point.

“There wasn’t much of a game plan, we just went out and played hard to keep the lead”, replied Colleen Quinata on her team’s effort.

The Cougars were not going to go down without a fight as they rallied back, highlighted by a hit from Tobiason, but the effort came up short as GW’s Sam Quinata closed it with a set-ending block (25-18).

Second set

The Geckos came out in full force as they jumped to a (5-0) advantage, lead by Jasmine Almoguera’s two blocks.

GW continued to remain in control as their lead grew (10-3), but the Cougar’s Joie Blas recorded a block and kill to help close the gap.

Colleen Quinata spikes the ball hard to get a point for the Geckos.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Colleen Quinata spikes the ball hard to get a point for the Geckos. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Despite trailing by eight points, Academy’s Amara Borja blasted in a kill. To help close the gap a little more, Cougars setter Maya Sanchez was able to dump the ball in twice to get the momentum flowing a bit (15-10).

With the home crowd loud and fired up, it wasn’t long before the Cougars and Geckos found themselves tied up at 16-all after a kill from Lauren Hoebing and a pair of big plays from Blas.

Academy stunned the Geckos as Sanchez went on to serve the team to an 18-16 lead before Hoebing blasted a kill in, igniting the crowd and forcing a GW timeout.

The Geckos remained composed out of the timeout as Duenas hit in a kill, but Shannon Munoz’s hit sailed through the Gecko defense and helped the Cougars go up (20-17).

The Geckos Colleen Quinata found a hole in the defense as she hit in a kill before teammate Samyra Duenas served in a powerful ace to tie it at 20.

Both teams battled it out and rallied for nearly every point till the end until the Geckos’ Sam Quinata set her team up (24-22). The Cougars libero Devan San Nicolas came up big with two digs to keep her team’s hopes alive.

Despite a clutch kill from Academy’s Tobiason, the Geckos were able to close out the game off a missed serve, clinching their first victory of the season.

“I have a lot of faith in my team, even if were struggling we always seem to find a way to pick ourselves back up and that’s what we did today”, said Colleen Quinata on her team’s late comeback to hold off the Cougars.

“There’s still a lot of tweaking that we need to do… first game jitters is gone and from this point there’s no excuses”, replied Geckos Coach Bobbi Quinata on her teams performance and expectations.

The girls of Academy gather together to hype themselves up before the game. (photo by Daniel Paran)

The girls of Academy gather together to hype themselves up before the game. (photo by Daniel Paran)

 

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