PLAYOFFS: WARRIORS STUN GECKOS IN FIVE SETS

PLAYOFFS: WARRIORS STUN GECKOS IN FIVE SETS

📅13 October 2017
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By Patrick Lujan

The two hottest teams in the league coming into the IIAAG Girls Volleyball League quarterfinals put on a five-set thriller with the St. Paul Warriors surviving a 16-25, 25-21, 27-25, 13-25, 24-22 marathon Friday night at the GW Gym.

The Warriors advance to the semifinals to play the St. John’s Knights on Tuesday. The other semifinal matchup will be the Notre Dame Royals and Academy Cougars.

OTHER QUARTERFINAL GAMES

St. John’s def. Harvest forfeit, forfeit, 25-19 (Eagles were stuck in traffic and missed the start of the first two sets)

Academy def. JFK 25-19, 21-25, 25-13

Notre Dame def. Tiyan 25-13, 25- 14, 25-11

WARRIORS CONTINUE TO ROLL

Joniah Siguenza and Chloe Farwell are Wendy’s Co-Players of the Game as they played big roles in an upset win over the GW Geckos in the quarterfinals.

The Geckos came into the playoffs winning nine in a row while the Warriors had a hot streak of their own winning six consecutive.

It came down to the fifth and final set with the first team to 15 advancing.

The largest lead of the set was 12-9 GW on a quick kill by Kirsten Santos, but St. Paul fought back to tie it at 13 and it was a cat fight from there (watch the final moments of the game on the GSPN Facebook page)

The net play of Joniah Siguenza, Chloe Farwell and Monica Giger proved to be the difference and it was Giger’s swing off the Geckos’ backcourt defense that sealed the big win.

“Before the game, I told the girls that our backs are against the wall,” Warriors coach Al Garrido said. “We were going up against decades of excellence in the Geckos. Fortunately, we don’t have to have decades of excellence. We just have to have one really good game…and we did. We had to play an excellent game to beat GW.”

“We’re the team that everyone said we choked at the beginning of the season,” said senior Farwell about the Warriors’ 4-6 start to the season. “We wanted to change that and we really dug deep for each other. It was amazing to see how we all just came together.”

Throughout the game, St. Paul substituted a player at almost every other play – it seemed – for a total of 63 substitutions and using 15 different players.

“I knew that if we play the long game, that’s the best chance to beat GW,” Garrido explained the strategy. “I wanted to make sure that by the fifth set, my starters were as fresh as possible.”

OFF-ISLAND TRIP

The Warriors will be far from full strength when they take on the Taga Division’s top seed St. John’s Knights on Tuesday.

Thirteen players from the varsity squad will be heading to the Asian Christian School Conference Volleyball Tournament in Hong Kong and will miss out in the action on Tuesday and perhaps the championship game next Friday.

“We had planned to be here for the entire playoffs but schedules got changed and we now have a double commitment. We are also a part of the ACSC, so we’re going to fulfill both,” Garrido said.

Only two varsity players will remain behind (Haley Senne and Angelica Calvo) to play along other junior varsity players in the semifinals.

“It sucks (to miss out on the semifinals) because we have a chance (at the championship),” St. Paul standout Joniah Siguenza said. “Maybe next year – hopefully.”

“I’m disappointed I won’t be playing in it,” added Farwell. “But I have so much faith in the two varsity players and the JV players. They can do it.”

GECKO TO WARRIOR

St. Paul’s Siguenza contributed from start to finish: from the front line, back line and even service line. She had a game-high 18 kills.

The new go-to star for the Warriors was at the other side of the net a year ago with the Geckos. It was a strange feeling for her playing in a different uniform and now a visitor in the GW Gym.

“Playing against them, it was weird because I used to have chemistry with them, and my new team, I have chemistry with them now,” The junior middle blocker said. “It was fun for me. Nothing serious against them.”

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