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FRIARS FEND OFF KNIGHTS IN SEASON OPENER

FD starts quest for sixth straight IIAAG title

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

Kicking off the IIAAG Boys Volleyball League season with an incredible matchup were the St. John’s Knights taking on Father Duenas’ athletes on their Phoenix Center home court. Even though the Friars were able to take the win after four sets, as the Knights were able to sneak in a win during the third, there was no doubt that the young team of Knights had their opponents nervous. Final scores for each set followed as: 25-19, 25-23, 20-25, 25-17.

Both teams were filled with skillful athletes. As a smaller team, the freshman/sophomore exclusive Knights on the court are able to get in a lot of playing time during their young years and display their skills. Unfortunately, the stacked team of Friars proved more capable of catching their breath and keeping the plays more consistently in their favor. 

Still, despite the impressive plays from both teams, both teams exhibited first-game-of-the-season jitters with multiple minor mistakes costing several points. From short serves to uncontrolled passes, it’s clear to see that the athletes are still just getting warmed up.

To give props to major workhorses on the court, the setters of the day put in a lot of effort to keep the game going as both teams took their beats of hustle and clear correspondence from the examples set by their respective setters on the court. Representing the Friars well was senior Reo Okawa as an impressive leading communicator to control the plays and provide as an example for first-time setter Steffan Surban, who stepped in for a set to get some gametime of his own. On the other side of the net, SJS sophomore Jerrick Palomares mirrored the importance of the position to keep the game alive. 

Regardless of the outcome, though both Okawa and Surban both express their gratitude towards earning the win against the Knights, the two are fully aware of the mistakes on the court and are looking to clean it up in forthcoming practices. “[We’re] a little sloppy,” Okawa stated. “We could’ve definitely wrapped it up a lot quicker.” 

The Friars entered this game as the champions of the pre-season tournament, so Okawa feels as though their performance today was lackluster compared to what he feels the team has already proved they are capable of. “It’s really about what [Okawa] said…we should work on [those mistakes] and as we continue throughout the season, we’ll continue to get better,” Surban adds following his upperclassmen’s note. 

The Knights have another game coming up soon against the Harvest Eagles at the St. John’s gym this Thursday, April 4, at 6 pm. The Friars will step back onto their home court on the following day of Friday, April 5, at 5:30 to face the Notre Dame Royals.

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