Agape rallies past MCS to win season debut


An Agape Christian School player sets up his teammate during their season debut game against Mt. Carmel School in the CCOPSA high school volleyball league last Thursday at the Agape court in Middle Road. (Roby N. Pamintuan

Agape Christian School one-upped Mt. Carmel School in their season debuts in the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association High School Volleyball League.

The Torchbearers and Knights played their first game of the season last Thursday at the former’s home turf in Gualo Rai with Agape pulling off a come-from-behind win, 25-23, 27-25.

“I came into this game not expecting too much, but I also know how much work that my boys put in—whether it was this year or in the years before,” Agape coach En Yang Pang said after the game. “I know that they have the desire to play, and I’m glad that it showed on the court on this first game.”

The early stages of the opening set featured a back-and-forth slugfest with the opposing teams engaged in a deadlock, 16-16. With the game tied, the Knights scrambled on defense and Brian Youn stepped up to successfully deliver four consecutive serves and push the score to 20-16, in MCS’ favor. With the set slipping away from their grip, Agape spikers Peter Wang and Kobe Yang launched several spikes and Silas Xu delivered a barrage of six overhand serves to cap off an impressive comeback.

The second and final set mirrored the neck-and-neck nature of the first match, with the opposing squads exchanging leads throughout the game.

MCS team captain Eric Kiser made sure his squad kept pace with the high-flying Torchbearer frontline by capitalizing on his spikes and making several key defensive plays. James San Nicolas, who was one of the younger players on the court, also delivered for the Knights, having a string of four consecutive serves and setting up their spikers throughout the set to hand MCS the lead, 21-17.

With Agape facing a four-point deficit, Mark Shao, Wang, and Yang synergized on offense and made several well-timed blocks to force a tie, 24-24. Shao, a towering figure who played spectacular defense throughout both sets, then iced the game at with two consecutive serves.

When asked how Agape managed to recover in both sets to steal the win from the Knights, Pang attributed their victory to their calm and levelheaded plays.

“I told my boys to calm down because sometimes they easily get flustered and they’re emotional about the game, so they tend to react a little too much,” Pang said. “I told them to calm down and use their heads to play the game and not their emotions.”

Meanwhile, matches in the high school league will resume tomorrow. Grace Christian Academy’s high school girls team will be taking on MCS’ junior varsity team at 3:30pm at GCA’s home court, while ACS’s high school girls team will be hosting Saipan International School 2 at 3:30pm. MCS’ high school boys team will be playing against SIS 1 at MCS’ grass courts and MCS’ high school girls varsity squad will be challenging SIS 1 at the Knights court at 4:30pm.

Roby N. Pamintuan

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