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ISLANDERS WIN 2019 SHIEH PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT

The JFK Islanders made a strong start out the gates by winning the 2019 Shieh Preseason Volleyball Tournament at the St. John’s gym Saturday afternoon. JFK defeated the GW Geckos in straight sets 25-22, 25-18 led by a senior crop of 12 players who are hungry for a strong post-season run.

By Robert Balajadia

The JFK Islanders made a strong start out the gates by winning the 2019 Shieh Preseason Volleyball Tournament at the St. John’s gym Saturday afternoon. JFK defeated the GW Geckos in straight sets 25-22, 25-18 led by a senior crop of 12 players who are hungry for a strong post-season run.

Wendy’s Player of the Game: Frencine Villena

“Winning this is a big thing for us. We really want to play in the final game of the season, but we never get the chance to. We feel that this year we have a great opportunity to make it to that final game of the season,” said senior outside hitter Frencine Villena.

The Islanders had the toughest task of the day after completing Pool C Saturday morning before jumping straight into a single-elimination playoff in the afternoon. They got past the St. John’s Knights in the semifinals and got through the GW Geckos in the finals to win it all. Despite the fatigue, JFK wanted to set the tone before the season officially begins August 27th.

“It was half-and-half,” said Villena on whether playing all day was a benefit or a hinderance. “We were tired, but we did prove that we have heart for the sport and we pushed from the first whistle to the last to get to where we wanted to be.”

Villena did her best work late in the 2nd set scoring a pair of kills back-to-back off sets to get her squad up 24-18. An error on a set by the Geckos gave the Islanders the win and JFK couldn’t help but celebrate.

“It feels great because we should have been here ever since, but we just needed to push ourselves,” said Frencine. “We’re not just doing it for ourselves, we’re doing this for coach [Babauta]. He’s been with most of us since middle school and this is where he wants us to be.”

The GW Geckos defeated the ND Royals in straight sets in the semis before battling the Islanders. The Royals would take 3rd place.

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Sports legend Joe Taitano used to run to school at JFK from his Yigo home and back. He continued this routine up to 1979 when he’d run from home to GW gym and back to practice for the South Pacific Games with the national basketball team. Guam went on to win its second straight SPG gold medal.

 

 

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