Connect with us

Volleyball

FD SWEEPS HARVEST TO WIN 5TH STRAIGHT IIAAG CROWN

Friars, Titans this Saturday in battle of champions

By Nick Akimoto

The Father Duenas Friars are champs once again of the IIAAG Boys Volleyball League for the fifth year in a row!

In their matchup against the top-ranked Harvest Eagles in the electric UOG Calvo Field House atmosphere, the Friars came away with the trophy in three straight sets (25-23, 25-23, 25-17). 

This is the fourth time in five years that the Friars have met with the Eagles in the IIAAG title match. The Eagles got the better of the Friars in their last matchup of the regular season of this quiet rivalry, but FD was determined to avenge its loss to Harvest. Both teams split their regular season games, however, the Friars suffered an upset loss to St. Paul to knock them to the 2-seed. 

“Coach Alvin (Alvarez) has always told us to start off strong. We got to start out fast, and that’s what we did coming out and brought the energy tonight. It made the crowd go wild and that’s what we needed,” said Friar captain and outside hitter Gabriel Joseph Mendiola Sarmiento. Sarmiento was an important spark plug to FD’s opening attack, collecting five early kills in the first set. 

FD senior Ethan Alvarez goes cross court from the right side between two Harvest blocks on IIAAG championship night at the UOG Field House. (photo by Kyle Dela Pena)

The Friars looked to contain the explosive hitting power of Jack Keith, Calvin Laxamana and Traven Kaae using purposeful placement on their hits to put Harvest’s setter, Christian Shinohara in precarious positions. 

“Harvest put up a really good fight. They’re all super good. Props to them,” said FD setter Connor Balajadia. 

Balajadia was in control of FD’s offense throughout the match, making sure that their bevy of hitters were able to get good looks. Balajadia especially relied on his connection with middle blocker Joseph “JAM” Mafnas who emerged with a team-high 11 kills on the night. 

“I know they look to me sometimes, and I just pull my weight.”

– FD junior middle blocker Joseph Mafnas

1st Set 

The field house was brimming with energy before the match began, as FD and Harvest exchanged chants and cheers. The boom of the first serve cut through all of that, however, as the match between the two powerhouse squads kicked off. 

Sarmiento was the first to get the Friars, collecting five kills early and leading their championship charge. 

On the other end, Keith kept his Harvest squad in the fight, netting five kills in the first set as well. 

As both teams exchanged blows, crucial kills by David Del Carmen helped FD squeak away with the close first set 25-23. 

“Start off strong. That was the mindset,” said Del Carmen, who had eight kills on the night.

Harvest’s Traven Kaae did his best to keep the Eagles in the game, but the Friars were just too much as they swept the Eagles in three sets. (photo by Kyle Dela Pena)

2nd Set 

After dropping the first set, Harvest came alive and put together a run to lead early in the second set. A kill from Laxamana, a block from Keith and an ace from Reuben Lemuel put the Eagles in great position leading 10-3.

Three kills and a powerfully consistent jump serve from Ethan Alvarez helped the Friars keep up with the Eagles, but Mafnas helped tip the scale back in FD’s favor as he brought in three kills, two blocks and two aces. 

Crafty hits from Noah Cruz helped confuse Harvest’s offense and put him in position to collect blocks. Cruz had six kills and two blocks throughout the game as the Friars managed to steal the second set 25-23.

3rd Set 

After a heart-breaking second set loss, it seemed as if the Eagles’ wings were clipped as they weren’t the same high-flying team in the third. With a 2-0 lead, Balajadia made sure the Friars finished strong by helping Mafnas collect four kills, Alvarez and Del Carmen collect three kills, and Sarmiento collect two.

The FD student body intently watch championship volleyball action before pouring on to the floor on championship point. (photo by Kyle Dela Pena)

Harvest would continue to fight to attempt to mount a comeback, but a Mafnas slam on an overkill would secure the IIAAG trophy for the Friars as the FD student body rushed the court in celebration. 

CHAMPION V CHAMPION

The season now boils down to one game this Saturday night as the ISA champion Tiyan Titans take on the IIAAG champion Friars at the Tiyan Gym at 7 pm. The game will be broadcast live on www.guamsportsnetwork.com.

“It’s gonna be a good game. We know a lot of boys on that side, so it’s gonna be a fun game,” said Mafnas. 

“All we need to do is be the same team we’ve been this whole year. Be uniform and work as one unit,” said Sarmiento.

Action starts on Saturday with the junior varsity champ v champ game at 5 pm featuring the Sanchez Sharks (ISA) and Harvest Eagles (IIAAG).

Ad

GPS Sports Calendar

April

May 2024

June
SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
Events for April

1st

Events for May

2nd

Events for May

3rd

Events for May

4th

5
6
7
8
9
10
11
Events for May

4th

No Events
Events for May

6th

Events for May

7th

Events for May

8th

Events for May

9th

Events for May

10th

Events for May

11th

12
13
14
15
16
17
18
Events for May

11th

No Events
Events for May

13th

Events for May

14th

Events for May

14th

No Events
Events for May

16th

Events for May

17th

Events for May

18th

19
20
21
22
23
24
25
Events for May

19th

Events for May

20th

Events for May

20th

No Events
Events for May

21st

No Events
Events for May

22nd

No Events
Events for May

23rd

No Events
Events for May

25th

26
27
28
29
30
31
1
Events for May

26th

Events for May

26th

No Events
Events for May

27th

No Events
Events for May

28th

No Events
Events for May

29th

No Events
Events for May

30th

No Events

COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

QUICK HITS

Bailey Concepcion makes it to the Seattle Seahawks dance team for the 2nd straight year.

Congratulations @seadancer_bailey
—————————————–
The St. Paul Warriors are the 2024 IIAAG Boys Middle School Basketball League Champions! The Warriors defeated the 2nd seed Andersen Dragons 60-47 to cap off their undefeated season.
Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.

More in Volleyball