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VOLLEYBALL: KNIGHTS TOP VISITING DOLPHINS

The St. John Knights were flawless Tuesday night and are determined to improve and to make a run at the IIAAG title this season. With all the hype focused on the GW Geckos and the Academy Cougars, the Knights look to join the party.

By Jay Leon Guerrero

Player of the Game Amaya Ada-Vibar.

Player of the Game Amaya Ada-Vibar led her team on offense and defense in the win over Southern.

The St. John Knights were flawless Tuesday night and are determined to improve and to make a run at the IIAAG title this season. With all the attention on the GW Geckos and the Academy Cougars, the Knights look to join the party.

The Knights defeated a strong Southern High Dolphins squad in straight sets (25-16, 25-13) last night at their home gym to improve to 2-0 for the season. The Knights limited their service errors, kept their passing clean and played great defense to hold off a powerful Dolphin squad.

Team captain Amaya Ada-Vibar led her team to victory as the lady Knights held the lead from start to finish. Ada-Vibar sparked runs in both sets to help the Knights gain confidence and hold off any late rallies from the Dolphins.

Knights’ head coach Chris Shepard was pleased with his team’s performance this early in the season.

“The (pre-season) Shieh tournament definitely helped in terms of them getting out there and playing. We have a pretty young group so to see them play that well is nice, but we still have some areas to improve and we will see how it turns out as the season progresses,” said Shepard.

The lady Knights started off the contest leading 3-0 behind a kill from Ada-Vibar. Southern’s Myah Quenga halted the early offensive spurt with a block. Maylani Simon followed up with a kill from the backrow to get things started for the Dolphins.

The Knights quickly countered with Stephanie Hong leading the way at the service line, placing her serves in the right places during a crucial 5-0 rally for the Knights to stop the Dolphin momentum.

Ada-Vibar later followed up with an ace during a 6-0 run to go ahead 21-9 in the opening set. Dolphin middle blocker Marlisah Tenorio recorded her first block of the game for a side out which also sent her to the service line as she served an ace. Tenorio’s comeback drive was too late as the Knights played great defense behind libero Gabby Paytner to hold on for the 25-16 win.

St. John's Knights Hana Fernandez sets the ball for her team mates to score. (photo by Richard Camacho)

St. John’s Knights Hana Fernandez sets the ball for her team mates to score. (photo by Richard Camacho)

In the second set, the Knights quickly jumped ahead 12-5. The Knights capitalized on four service errors by the Dolphin hitters, inadvertently hitting the net to open up a huge lead.

Catherine Chung played solid defense in the middle and recorded a kill to help the Knights take a double digit lead.

Serena Frenay maintained the lead after she served an ace for the Knights, which led to both teams clearing their benches as the Knight won 25-13. On a side note, Dolphin outside hitter Ciera Aguon had the visiting Dolphin faithful fans off their feet after she recorded a pair of highlight kills.

Simon, Quenga, and Aguon each had 3 kills for the Dolphins as they drop their opener to fall to 0-1 for the season. Ada-Vibar had three kills and three aces to lead the Knights.

“I’m really satisfied with our performances in the first two games. Before the game, I told the team to have a good start and come out strong,” said Ada-Vibar.

The Knights’ captain said that her team learned from the Shieh pre-season tournament and addressed the issues in practice.

“That tournament showed who we are as a team, we learned on what we needed to work on during practice.”

Ada-Vibar said that she was glad to get the win and she credited the Dolphins for coming out strong in their opening game.

“They have really strong servers and hard hitters, thankfully we were able to have good passes during the game,” said Ada-Vibar.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Knights Catherine Chung sets up for a kill attempt. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Knights Catherine Chung sets up for a kill attempt. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Amaya Ada-Vibar goes airborne to strike the ball down to the Southern Dolphins. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Amaya Ada-Vibar goes airborne to strike the ball down to the Southern Dolphins. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

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