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ANGELS GET BACK AT SHARKS FOR EARLY SEASON LOSS IN STRAIGHT SETS

GAA successfully redeems themselves against Sanchez

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

Wednesday night was a big game for the Guam Adventist Academy Angels as they were able to achieve a well-warranted comeback against their Simon Sanchez opponents. Where their last game started with the first two sets won by the Angels, they had lost the remaining three sets to the Sharks. This time around, the GAA athletes kept up their energy to keep the third set in their favor and win the game. Set scores: 25-20, 25-17, 25-21.

The win puts the Angels into second place at 7-2 and drops the Sharks into the third place slot at 5-2. The GW Geckos are the front-runners at 7-1.

Senior and captain of the GAA team, Kana Sgambelluri, recalls being eager to meet Sanchez for their rematch. After the Angels lost their steps during the previous match to permit the Sharks to take the win, Sgambelluri and the team were more than ready to redeem themselves. “We gave them the game and they beat us fair and square,” he shares about their initial loss against the Sharks. “We know we play better than that, so, this game really showed that we have what it takes.”

With a varsity team of only seven players for a sport that demands six athletes on the court at all times, the Angels proved to be smart about not wasting their energy from the start. Though there were multiple mistakes on the court from both sides, the Sharks’ team of strong heavy hitters seemed to outweigh the Angels’ ability to control their passes. However, with a lot of hustle from GAA setter Gabriel Duenas and astute placement by the rest of the Angels, any mistakes the team made were fully capable of recovery on the court to be returned to the Sharks’ side of the net.

Before the first set was over, it was clear that Sgambelluri was a standout with his natural talent and height mixed with his ability to connect his kills to the weakest spots of his opponents defense. Still, it was a good day for the Sharks’ Brent Villafuerte as he was able to respond to Sgambelluri’s spikes with some strong hits of his own to warrant some points back over to Sanchez, most impressively when in the pipe position while he was in the back row of a rotation, and also with the most aces served for the game.

As the GAA supporters felt the taste of victory after the first set, they only got more excited. With all the excitement having a visible toll on both teams of athletes as well as the coaches and referees, the Angels lost some steps and seemed to need some time to learn to tune out the extra noise with the help of their coach reminding them to stay focused on what is right in front of them. 

Over on the Sharks’ court, they were having a difficult time lifting themselves back up. Where the Angels had to work to ensure their hits and serves did not come up short, the Sanchez athletes experienced the exact opposite problem as they overcompensated with too much power when connecting with the ball, gradually losing control of their plays and resulting in multiple lost points to ‘out’ calls.

Through the commotion of the game, the Angels were finally able to feel the weight of that first loss to the Sharks be lifted off their shoulders with an impressive win in just three sets. For Sgambelluri and his ten outstanding kills for the night, winning this game was important not just for him, but for the entire GAA team. “In previous years, we weren’t doing so well,” he states in reference to his school and their newer approach to the games with such a small team. “For us to win some games, it’s really rewarding.”

Wendy’s Player of the Game: Kana Sgambelluri poses with GAA Angels team after defeating the Sanchez Sharks in three straight sets

As for the future of the season, Sgambelluri can see the Angels potentially going up against the George Washington Geckos or even meeting Sanchez again in the finals. As the top three schools in the ISA league, Sgambelluri is just happy to be part of a conversation that includes two current powerhouses of the sport. “GW and Sanchez are extremely good schools. They are very disciplined and they have good coaches that know what they’re doing,” Sgambelluri endearingly notes about his competitors. “Regardless of what happens, our team will do our part moving forward. We’ll learn from our mistakes and we’ll continually get better. We just hope to have a good game to finish out the school year.”

The GAA Angels are scheduled to head right back to the court on Thursday to face Southern at the Okkodo gym at 6 pm. Meanwhile, Sanchez has some time to recover before they have to meet the GW Geckos at the JFK gym on Friday at 6 pm.

STANDINGS

GW 7-1

GAA 7-2

Sanchez 5-2

Okkodo 4-4

Tiyan 4-5

Southern 2-6

JFK 0-9

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COMING SOON …

4th Quarter Post Season

Boys Volleyball Champion v Champion on May 19

QUICK HITS

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.
—————————————–
Sad News: Guam’s basketball community received word that long-time coach Gerrard ‘Gerry’ Barnes succumbed to cancer and passed away on May 7. 
Coach Barnes led the heralded Andersen Bombers from the 1980’s until recent years.
He also coached the Guam national team and at Simon Sanchez.
Coach Barnes was 73.

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