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WARRIORS BEST ISLANDERS IN THRILLER

Intense girls high school volleyball action unfolded Friday night at the St. Paul gym as the Warriors defended their home court against the visiting JFK Islanders in thrilling three-set fashion.

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By John Baza

Intense girls high school volleyball action unfolded Friday night at the St. Paul gym as the Warriors defended their home court against the visiting JFK Islanders.

The game went a full three sets, highlighted by a third set that went down to the wire, but the Warriors emerged victorious taking the match (25-16, 22-25, 32-30).

Thrilling Third

St. Paul opened the final set on a pair of big plays from Respicio and Darby Samala, firing up the home crowd and giving them an early advantage (6-4).

JFK’s Onedera hit one in to get offense flowing for her team, proving effective, as they were able to tie the game up at 8-all.

The serves of Warriors’ Pangilinan and another kill from Samala (12-8) but Onedera served two aces of her own to close in on the home team.

Both teams rallied over the next few plays, with the Warriors maintaining a small lead, but found it tied up (17-17) after the effort of the Islanders.

The Warriors rallied to another lead (19-17) after a kill from Samala, but the scrappy Islanders showed sense of urgency as Tugade fired in a kill that deflected off the blockers to give JFK the lead (19-20).

The lead was brief after the Warriors’ Lopez served an ace to reclaim a 21-20 lead.
St. Paul continued to keep the lead despite a line hit from Onedera (23-22). But both teams would eventually find themselves tied up 24-all, meaning that a team would have to score two straight points to end the game.

After an intense series of nail-biting rallies and lead exchanges, both teams found themselves in a sudden death like situation, but the pressure proved evident as both sides struggled to serve on potential game–clinching plays.

The Warriors and Islanders traded leads five times in the crucial last plays, but it was St. Paul’s Samala that delivered the final blow, scoring the game winning point to take the set (32-30).

“We struggled a bit and felt the pressure, but I’m glad we came together and worked out the win”, replied an excited Samala on her team’s effort down the stretch.

First set action

Wendy's player of the game: St. Paul Warriors Darby Samala.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Wendy’s player of the game: St. Paul Warriors Darby Samala. (photo by Daniel Paran)

St. Paul came off to an early start as they jumped to a 6-0 lead behind the early attack of Haley Senne. Senne helped further her team’s lead (10-1) firing in two aces to get momentum flowing.

The Islanders’ Regine Tugade and Isabele Itliong-Cruz looked to get some defense going for their team as they blocked and defended to close the gap (11-4), but the offense of the Warriors’ Senne kept the visiting team at bay (16-11).

Tugade blasted in a kill (21-14) as she continued to pester the Warriors’ defense, but her effort came up short as the Warriors’ Shelby Respicio sparked her team with a pair of kills and aces to take the first set 25-16.

Islanders redeem

Opening the set was JFK’s Anita Onedera who scored an ace, but the offense of the Warriors’ Respicio and Senne combined for a kill and three aces, retaking the lead.

The Islanders seemed to be heating up as the duo of Tugade and Narissa Blaz showcased their blocking and attacking abilities (10-9).

Blaz exploded offensively as she served up five aces and a kill, in addition to teammate Tugade’s kill, as the Islanders claimed a 10-14 lead,stunning the Warriors.

St. Paul’s Joy Pangilinan scored off a lone ace for her team, but was overshadowed by the attack of the Islanders’ Ericca Tomada and Tugade (13-19).

Senne got a clear look for the Warriors as she fired one to the floor (17-20), but the Islanders’ Tomada contributed a kill and an ace to bring her to team to a convincing (18-22) lead.

The Warriors’ Tiffany Lopez served an ace to keep her team’s hopes alive (22-24) but JFK was able to force a third set, closing out the set (22-25) after a block.

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Haley Senne of the Warriors makes a nice return to keep the rally going.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Haley Senne of the Warriors makes a nice return to keep the rally going. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Shelby Respicio puts a stop to a shot attempt by Islanders' Ericca Tomada.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Shelby Respicio puts a stop to a shot attempt by Islanders’ Ericca Tomada. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Darby Samala sends a strong serve over to the Islanders.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Darby Samala sends a strong serve over to the Islanders. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Warriors' Joy Pangelinan and Islanders' Mai Canales jump to tip the ball over as it teeters on the net.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Warriors’ Joy Pangelinan and Islanders’ Mai Canales jump to tip the ball over as it teeters on the net. (photo by Daniel Paran)

The ball set in the air as Ericca Tomada leaps up after it for a spike.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

The ball set in the air as Ericca Tomada leaps up after it for a spike. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Narissa Blaz smashes the ball past the Warriors to get a point for the Islanders.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Narissa Blaz smashes the ball past the Warriors to get a point for the Islanders. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Isabel Itliong-Cruz dips down to save the ball for the Islanders.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Isabel Itliong-Cruz dips down to save the ball for the Islanders. (photo by Daniel Paran)

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COMING SOON …

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro June 15-24

Guam National Bodybuilding Championship June 29

QUICK HITS

Coach Donan Cruz and the U.S. Men’s U21 National Team took home gold at the 2024 NORCECA Continental Championship with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 27-25) win over Canada on Sunday evening in Nogales, Mexico. The victory guaranteed the U.S. a spot in the 2025 FIVB U21 World Championship.
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Congratulations to the 2024 Guam Rugby Cup Champions: Tao Tao Mana (Men’s Cup Champions) and Southern Rugby Club (Women’s Cup Champions)

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