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GECKOS EDGE BULLDOGS IN THREE SETS

It was a slugfest this Friday night at the GW gym as the Geckos looked to defend their home court against a tough Okkodo Bulldogs squad. Despite a strong showing from both powerhouses, it was the Geckos who would have the last say as they held on for a hard fought (25-14, 11-25, 25-15) win.

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By John Baza

It was a slugfest Friday night at the GW Gym as the unbeaten Geckos looked to defend their home court against a tough Okkodo Bulldogs squad in the IIAAG girls volleyball league. Despite a strong showing from both of these powerhouses, it was the Geckos who would have the last say as they held on for a hard fought 25-14, 11-25, 25-15 win.

With their perfect record on the line, the Geckos were poised as they grinded out the win to remain atop the league’s standings, undefeated at a nice 7-0 while the Bulldogs dropped to 5-3.

In regards to the Geckos’ undefeated performance this far in the season, team captain Sia Duenas had this to say, “Everything our coach tells us, communication is key, how to play on the court and focus on team work is what helped us to get here.”

However, it proved to be a night of upsets as well as the ND Royals 6-1 were handed their first loss of the season as the Harvest Eagles 4-4 slipped through in a nail biting 23-25,25-18,26-24 upset victory.

First Set

The Bulldogs struck first off of a kill from Caren Mesias, but the Geckos’ Duenas served her team to a 10-1 lead, highlighted by three aces.

GW’s Colleen Quinata contributed a kill to add to the growing lead, but the Bulldogs’ Danielle Robles was determined to make a comeback as she fired in her team’s first kill making it 13-5.

Teammates Roey Pangelinan and Sirena Cepeda pitched in as they worked to close the gap with a couple of strong hits and a 15-8 lead, but the Geckos’ Jasmine Almoguera and Sam Quinata contributed pair of aces and thunderous kills to extend the growing lead 20-10.

It wasn’t long before the Geckos found themselves closer to the set point before they were able to close out the set 25-14.

Second Set

The visiting Bulldogs opened the second on different tone as an ace from Jachelle Saludo and a nice cut shot from Jestyne Sablan gave them an early 3-1 lead.

But a pair of big plays from GW’s Almoguera stuffed the Bulldogs’ chance to further the lead just yet, as she was able to tie the game up at 4-all.

Okkodo’s Isla Quinata had a big showing in the set as she had an impressive diving save to set up a textbook bump-set-spike play to help her team break away 8-5, but the Geckos’ Duenas kept composure as she fired back a kill on the ensuing play.

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Wendy’s player of the game GW Geckos Sia Duenas and Jasmine Almoguera controlled the tempo to keep the Geckos undefeated. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

The Bulldogs would continue to roll as an ace from Robles and a block from Cepeda kept the Geckos at bay 14-7.

Things continued to go Okkodo’s way as Cepeda was able to notch in another hit followed by two clutch kills from Quinata, capping off a big set and helping her team to a convincing 25-11 victory, forcing a third set.

Final Set

Okkodo continued to ride momentum as Saludo served two aces and gave her team an early 4-1 lead, but sparking her team was the Geckos’ Colleen Quinata who blasted in a kill to close the gap 5-4 before her team would finally tie it up at 6-all.

GW’s Almoguera stepped up as she served up two aces to give her team a 9-6 lead.

The Bulldogs however, showed a sense of urgency as they rallied and battled their way to trail 10-9 behind the attack of Quinata and Robles, but this was the closest they would get.

In this slugfest of a third set, it was the defense of the Geckos that made the difference, highlighted by two blocks courtesy of Sam Quinata.

Teammates Duenas and Colleen Quinata helped the Geckos breakaway even more as they contributed a kill and two aces respectively in the final run that proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Bulldogs.

The Geckos were able to pull together in the final set, breaking out of their second set funk and pulling off the 25-15 victory to keep their undefeated record alive.

“We broke down and became a little to lax and stopped communicating on the court which really brought us down, so we had to dig ourselves out of the hole”, replied the Geckos’ Almoguera on the teams troubles in the second set.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Geckos setter Samaira Duenas throws up a set towards her outside hitters. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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Gecko Samaira Duenas serves up a volley in the first set. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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Geckos Colleen Quinata fires away a kill past the Bulldog blockers. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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Geckos Jasmine Almoguera rises up to block a kill attempt. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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Colleen Quinata of the Geckos gets a kill through the Bulldog front line. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

 

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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