Volleyball action will be back on island next month with the staging of the 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League.
The competition will feature high school teams (girls and boys divisions) and will be the first volleyball tournament that PSS will be holding since cutting short the middle school event (playoffs did not push through) last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and totally scrapping the boys high school contest. Only the girls high school and middle school seasons (2019-2020) were completed before the pandemic struck.
“We’ve been approved by the COVID-19 taskforce to conduct our 4v4 Beach Volleyball League to replace the 6v6 indoor competition,” PSS Student Support Services Athletic Program director Nick Gross said.
Ten teams have signed up for the girls high school division led by defending champion Grace Christian Academy, which will be represented by two squads. The GCA Lady Eagles topped the 2019-2020 season (indoor competition) after beating Saipan International School 1 in the finals, 25-20, 25-8.
The SIS Lady Geckos will also field two squads (SIS 1 and 2) in this season’s beach volleyball league, while Marianas High School 1 and 2 and Mt. Carmel School 1 and 2 are the other entries in the round-robin regular season. Rota and Tinian squad complete the roster, as the visiting teams will only compete in the double-elimination playoffs.
Preliminary games will be played every Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan and Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan sand courts starting on Jan. 23. Each game will only be played for one set, which is a race-to-21 match. The playoff round for the division is set for Feb. 20 and 21.
In the boys division, 12 teams will be vying for the championship. The list includes GCA, SIS 1 and 2, MCS 1 and 2, MHS 1 and 2, Agape 1 and 2, Kagman, Rota, and Tinian. Again, the visiting squads will only compete in the double-elimination playoff round that will be played on Feb. 26 and 27.
MHS 1 won the last interscholastic tournament PSS had (2018-2019 season), as the Dolphins outclassed Tinian Junior Senior High School-1 in the rubber, 25-11.
Matches in next year’s boys division will also take place every Saturday, beginning on Jan. 30. The same race-to-21, one set match rule applies in the boys high school games.
Safety protocols during the tournament will also be implemented, according to Gross.