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PANTHERS GO THE DISTANCE IN OPENER

The Guam High Panthers saved their best hand for last, causing the home team Harvest Eagles to fold in three sets (25-18, 11-25, 25-20) to officially tip off the 2015 girls volleyball season.

By Robert Balajadia

Player of the Game Jenna Raphael was big in the final set where she scored five aces.

Player of the Game Jenna Raphael was big in the final set where she scored five aces.

The Guam High Panthers saved their best hand for last, causing the home team Harvest Eagles to fold in three sets (25-18, 11-25, 25-20) to officially tip off the 2015 girls volleyball season.

Panther Jenna Raphael’s five aces in the final set, including a 10-0 run to begin the final set, were vital to the victory.

“I was really motivated to win because we got killed during the Shieh Tournament and we just wanted to come out and show everyone what we’re capable of doing,” said the senior Raphael, who has been playing volleyball for the Panthers since her freshman year.

Raphael’s serving heroics ran the Panthers 10-straight points to take a commanding 11-1 lead in the final set. The Eagles seemingly stole momentum in the 2nd set after cruising to the 25-11 win, but the Panthers bounced right back behind Raphael’s strong play.

The home team Eagles didn’t allow the Panthers to celebrate for too long after Eagles’ Alyscia Quichocho rallied, hitting the holes in the Panthers right side defense for a comeback.

Quichocho helped chip away at the lead, combined with Panther errors, eventually pulling within two points 17-15.

Raphael then found herself serving once more where she collected a pocket of aces (two more) giving her team a 20-16 lead.

The Panthers then traded points until eventually taking the game 25-20.

“I really want to do well this season especially since it’s my last year at Guam High. I’m motivated and our whole team is motivated to win this year,” added Raphael.

Roller Coaster Sets

Panthers Harmony Yatar soars in for a kill. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Panthers Harmony Yatar soars in for a kill. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Guam High led wire-to-wire in the first set behind a kills from Aubrey Taimanglo and the backline defense of Harmony Yatar. Taimanglo registered six kills in the first set, each of which breaking a brief spurt the Eagles appeared to be on.

Taimanglo cashed in the 24th point while Yatar swiped the final point with a no return policy to end the first.

Harvest gave the fans plenty to cheer about in the 2nd set by completely dominating the round. Quichocho powered her way to a seven-kill set while teammate Tasi Castro grabbed three aces to stifle the Panthers.

A handful of Guam High’s errors  in the set came from Raphael due to her mis-perception of the Eagles lining.

All was noticeably fixed in the 3rd set where Raphael appeared to try for another ball close to the back line, but she quickly pulled her hands back to let the ball bounce outward for a Panther point.

“At first I was hesitant because I wasn’t too sure where the outlines were. I managed to correct myself and put myself in better positions to avoid getting those balls that were already going out.”

Guam High improves to (1-0) while Harvest drops to (0-1).

Other Scores

St. Paul def. Tiyan 25-16, 25-19

*Games at JFK and Southern have been postponed due to air conditioning problems

PHOTO GALLERY:

IMG_9546

Panthers Britney Bailey passes the ball to her teammates during a volley. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

IMG_9465

The Panthers front line successfully blocks an incoming spike. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

IMG_9385

Panthers Harmony Yatar gets a finger on the block, contesting Eagles Tasi Castro. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

 

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