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SHARKS BITE DOWN ON BULLDOGS IN 4 SETS

Sanchez win battle of ISA unbeatens.

By Eriele Salas

The Sanchez Sharks showed the Okkodo Bulldogs who’s really the top dog by making a powerful comeback after their first set loss. It was an edging match between the two, but the Sharks showed more determination to win in the battle of unbeaten teams Saturday night in the ISA Girls Volleyball League. 

Sanchez senior captain and last year’s league MVP Kayna Kanemoto assisted her team to victory with an outstanding 10 kills, two blocks and one ace. The Sharks won in four close sets 18-25, 25-23, 26-24, 27-25. 

1st set

The Bulldogs had locked in a great start in the beginning of the match with Haley Cabrera serving seven consecutive times. Sanchez had a pretty rocky start, especially on the offensive plays, as they were unable to get not many kills. While the Sharks did have some opportunities to kill the ball, the Bulldogs’ defensive line was always there, and they were consistent in keeping the rallies going. The Bulldogs compiled a total of five kills, four aces, and two blocks all together, which gave them an advantage. A net violation and shank from Sanchez gave Okkodo the upper hand and the chance for Bulldog Hanna Meinik to serve twice more, securing the Bulldogs one and only set. 

Although Sanchez managed to catch up mid-set, it wasn’t enough to beat Okkodo.

“We always have those slow starts, but we managed to pick it up because the team’s really motivating, and we just hype each other up.” 

– Sanchez captain Kayna Kanemoto

Knowing Okkodo was last year’s ISA champion and with this loss, the Sharks knew they had to put their all in this game to win it. And that’s exactly what they did. 

2nd set

With a desire to beat out the Bulldogs, the Sharks knew they had to display all their talents on the court. Sanchez’s Katherine Pineda got a lead by serving six in a row, causing Okkodo to lose their rhythm. Falling far behind, Okkodo’s student section kept motivating them no matter the score. Sanchez’s Kanemoto, Breanna Simina, and Erin Clemena all managed to kill the ball six times on the Bulldogs messy defense. 

While Okkodo had five kills and four aces, they had other opportunities to score more, but the Sanchez defensive line didn’t play around. Bulldogs Meinik and Rihanna Estoy were helpful in bringing their team up with eight serves together, but it didn’t work out for them in the end. 

3rd set

After losing the second set, the Bulldogs wanted this one, but the Sharks showed that they wanted it more. Sanchez stayed consistent and played smarter on both the offensive and defensive lines, and Lyrwana Mugol kept them up with her two kills and three aces. Still, the Bulldogs couldn’t get their momentum back from the first set. Eventually, they ended up trailing right behind the Sharks with their successful eight kills and one ace. 

Okkodo’s defense improved near the end of the set, but they didn’t take any risks on playing offensively which gave Sanchez’s setter Breanna Simina opportunities to assist her hitters with consistent sets. Okkodo’s Estoy gave the Bulldog supporters high hopes with her serves making the teams go to a deuce. 

Ultimately, the Sharks didn’t give up this one lucky moment for the Bulldogs, as they kept pushing to win. 

4th set

It was all or nothing for the Sharks, as they kept their spirits up to win against the unlucky Bulldogs. Okkodo finally gained their momentum again with Meinik, Estoy, and Cherise Conner securing six kills on Sanchez. The Sharks were a little behind, and the Bulldogs kept quite a lead for some time. In the middle of the set, Sanchez met Okkodo halfway to the finish line, and another deuce was in place. 

An overly-excited Bulldog attempted to kill the ball on Sanchez’s game point, but it wasn’t able to find the court, and this finally gave the Sharks their hard-earned victory. 

“This is our best team so far, and it’s my last year, so we have to take the championship,” says Kanemoto. This is Okkodo’s first loss with Sanchez staying undefeated. 

Sanchez will be taking on the Tiyan Titans on Thursday in the Titans’ Throne at 5:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Okkodo will be going up against the Guam Adventist Academy Angels back at the Bulldogs’ home court at 5 p.m. 

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