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VOLLEYBALL FINAL FOUR MOVES ON

The GW Geckos, Harvest Eagles, and JFK Islanders will all be moving on after the IIAAG boys volleyball quarterfinals wrapped up Tuesday night.

Islanders Outlast Friars In Fifth Set

By John Baza

In another highly anticipated playoffs matchup, the JFK Islanders took to the court against the Father Duenas Friars. Fans were treated to an epic showdown that saw a series of seesaw action with both teams aiming to advance to the semifinals. The match went the full five sets, with the Islanders grinding out the tough win (25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 9-25, 15-11).

With both teams looking to feel out the pace of the match, it would be the Islanders using their momentum to gain an 18-11 lead in the first set. Despite excellent defensive coverage from the Friars’ Michael Damian and Jeff Ochavillo, JFK’s heavy hitters Chris Conner and Wayne Jesus guided their team to win the first.

FD’s Eric Ada was instrumental in the Friars’ taking of the second as he recorded several highlight kills and blocks, helping his team jump out 11-7. But the Islanders’ Billy Belger recorded a couple kills of his own to keep the home team in it. Jaron Weilbacher would go on to record two straight blocks (18-16) but that would be the last lead for JFK as the Friars would pull together to take the second set.

Friars Eric Ada get met at the net by the JFK Islanders front line. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Friars Eric Ada get met at the net by the JFK Islanders front line. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

JFK’s Chris Conner was the backbone for his team throughout the night, hammering in kills from all angles and getting timely blocks when needed. Conner broke out midway through the third set doing just that.

“I stepped up, I feel like this was my best game the whole season. Props to our setter (Weilbacher) for setting me up for those hits tonight”, replied Conner on his performance for the night.

“We just had to play our game, we couldn’t play their game”, added Conner.

Although the Friars’ DeAaundre Cruz and Cole Ada kept their team in striking distance with clutch kills (23-20), Conner’s momentum took over as he served an ace in the final play of the set to give his team the victory in the third.

Fourth set action was all Friars, as they jumped out to the early 6-2 lead. FD’s Coloma would spark a run through his serving, giving the Friars the 11-2. The Friars caught fire and never looked back as they ran away with the 25-9 win before entering the final set of play.

Billy Belger and Chino Cruz get up to deny the Friars late in the set. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Billy Belger and Chino Cruz get up to deny the Friars late in the set. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Final set action started early with the home team Islanders recording the first kill off of a Sakane hit. JFK’s Conner connected with the set for the “31” play, which he sent hurdling down the center of the court for the 6-2 lead.

Action would ensue as the Friars’ Cruz sent in a kill (10-5). FD would bring the match down to the wire after a hit from Eric Ada (13-11) but the Islanders remained composed as they closed out the game wining the final set (15-11) and earning their spot in the semis.

“This win feels good but we still have two more games to play to get to where we want to be”, replied an ecstatic Conner.

Geckos Down Royals In Four

By Mike Nauta Jr.

It was quarterfinals Tuesday as eight teams battled one another over four games in the IIAAG High School Boys Volleyball League playoffs. Over at George Washington High School in Mangilao, the second-seeded Geckos played host to the visiting and seventh-seed Notre Dame Royals. Playing a “win or go-home” game, both teams came ready to battle hoping to advance into the semifinal round of the post-season.

Needing four sets to claim victory, the Geckos eliminated their opponents 25-14, 25-11, 22-25, 25-14. With the win, the Geckos move on to the next round and will host the Harvest Christian Academy Eagles who defeated the Southern High Dolphins earlier in the evening.

The Royals got things started quickly and built an early 4-1 lead in the opening set backed by kills from Hance Barcinas and Kyle Hendrickson. GW settled the nerves and climbed right back into the game several plays later to pull within (5-4) one. However, it was Notre Dame who looked poised to take the first set as they held and maintained a lead up until the scoreboard reflected a 14-13 score.

It was from that point where the Geckos heated up and the Royals flame fizzled out. With Devin San Agustin at the service line, the Geckos went on a scoring spree with 12 unanswered points to close out the set. San Agustin recorded two aces, while teammates Shaun Duenas and Noah Blas combined for four kills.

GWs Mathew Soto goes up for the big kill in the second set. (photo by Joey Blas)

GWs Mathew Soto goes up for the big kill in the second set. (photo by Joey Blas)

Errors plagued the Royals in the second set as GW opened a sizable 8-1 lead early on. An unforced error by GW combined with a cross-court kill from Barcinas trimmed the Notre Dame deficit to five. Midway through the set, GW upped their lead to 19-7 courtesy of precision attacking from San Agustin, Blas, and teammate Allen Camacho.

Despite trailing, the Royals continued to put forth a fight as Nathan Sablan and Hendrickson combined for a kill and two aces making it a 19-10 game.The effort would be put to a halt as the Geckos outscored their opponents (6-2) to end the set and pull within one of closing out the match.

Not willing to end their season on a straight-sets loss, the Royals flipped the Gecko script and extended the game into a fourth set. The 25-22 third set victory by the Royals was an accomplishment in itself as it was the first set that GW had lost since their regular-season opener against the defending-champion Okkodo Bulldogs. Notre Dame’s Hendrickson, Barcinas, Ethan Langas, and Roland “Sumo” Balajadia led the third set offense combining for 12 kills.

Geckos Devin San Augustin flies high for a kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

Geckos Devin San Augustin flies high for a kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

In the fourth set, both teams began trading point for point keeping things tight. After a kill by ND’s Sablan equalized the game at 3-3, the Geckos had seen enough. GW never looked back and shifted gears into cruise control. Led by Mathew Sojo’s three kills and two aces midway through, the Geckos eventually built a commanding 16-9 lead. Notre Dame found some difficulty sparking a rally to get back into the game as the Geckos outscored them (9-5) to close out the match.

Boys volleyball action resumes Friday with the Geckos hosting the HCA Eagles, while the defending-champion Bulldogs take on the JFK Islanders at Okkodo. Game time is scheduled for 6pm. According to a release from IIAAG president Martin Boudreau, should Guam go into Condition Two all IIAAG events will be postponed.

Other Game

Harvest def. Southern (25-10, 25-9, 25-11)

PHOTO GALLERY:

11268136_1090083034339420_1359211962_n 11265073_1090083111006079_1630672717_o 11257690_1090083217672735_182876723_n 11251491_1090083104339413_604756772_n 11216444_1090083184339405_312689905_n 11215231_1090083174339406_48113268_o

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Geckos Allen Camacho shows his leaping ability with a powerful slam. (photo by Joey Blas)

Geckos Allen Camacho shows his leaping ability with a powerful slam. (photo by Joey Blas)

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GWs Aoron Rolinski chimes in with a mid-set kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

GWs Aoron Rolinski chimes in with a mid-set kill. (photo by Joey Blas)

GWs Natahniel Gaitan makes a nice shot through a defender for the kill. (photo Joey Blas)

GWs Natahniel Gaitan makes a nice shot through a defender for the kill. (photo Joey Blas)

NDs Kyle Hendrickson skies for a hit that goes off a defenders hand for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

NDs Kyle Hendrickson skies for a hit that goes off a defenders hand for the side out. (photo by Joey Blas)

GWs Noah Blas gets a shot bye two defenders. (photo by Joey Blas)

GWs Noah Blas gets a shot bye two defenders. (photo by Joey Blas)

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The Guam Legislature recently paid homage to Michael Reidy, who passed away stateside in March. Reidy was instrumental in getting Guam into the Olympics in 1988 as well as a founding father of the island’s paddling community.

 

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Nadine Del Carmen graduated from Santa Clara University on June 11. She was named captain of the Santa Clara women’s tennis team in her senior year and she will be attending Georgetown University in the fall to pursue her masters and will be playing for the Hoyas women’s tennis team.

 

 

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