Back-to-back for Lady Knights


Mt. Carmel School’s Karleen Reyes goes up for a spike during the second set of their title game against Saipan International School in the girls high school division of the COPSSA volleyball league yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Mt. Carmel School won its finals rematch against Saipan International School to clinch the girls high school title in the 2016-2017 Coalition of Private Schools Sports Association Volleyball League yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

The Lady Knights prevailed in a three-set game, 25-15, 23-25, 15-5, to successfully defend the division championship they stole from the Lady Geckos last season. Mt. Carmel swept SIS in last season’s finale, 25-15, 26-24.

When they collided anew in yesterday’s winner-take-all title game, it seemed the Lady Knights were headed for another straight set triumph after cruising to victory in the opening set. However, SIS was not ready to give up that easily and pulled off a come-from-behind win in the second set.

The Lady Geckos were once down by 6, 14-20, but managed to recover and grabbed the win. With Mt. Carmel threatening to pull away, SIS coach Mili Saiki sued for time to talk things over. When the game resumed, her Lady Geckos responded with a 7-2 run to move SIS within one. The Lady Geckos were all over the court in that rally to slice the deficit, while the Lady Knights were too eager to finish off SIS that they committed several errors in the letdown.

A spike from Keona Camacho gave MCS more breathing room, 23-21, but again the Lady Knights were erratic with their set plays, while SIS did a great job scrambling for the ball to survive a couple of rallies. The Geckos went on to steal the second set, thanks to Karleen Reyes’ three straight wide spikes.

With the finals down to a third and final set, SIS and MCS had to play the race-to-15 third set and the Lady Knights quickly fought back after the collapse in the second set. The Lady Geckos, on the other hand, failed to ride on its momentum in the deciding third set, as they were stuck to 3 points after taking a slim 3-2 lead early in the game.

With SIS going cold, MCS built a promising 11-3 lead. In that run, SIS could not break most of Louisa Han’s serves, while Camacho and Jan Travilla hit a couple of kills. An exhausted Han finally missed on her serve with the ball hitting the net to give the Lady Geckos only their fourth point. SIS scored anew when one of its players blocked Camacho, however, the Geckos failed to make it three in a row after a short service.

Now two points away from wrapping up the match and bagging the division championship, Travilla served for the Lady Knights and after a few exchanges, Reyes was set up for the kill and this time her shot went in with the ball rolling past the net before dropping to an unguarded spot. Reyes also scored the title-clinching point when she went for another spike and the ball hit the arm of an SIS player before going out to the sideline.

“After missing those spikes in the second set, I just kept telling myself to stay positive and keep on trying because eventually the shots will go in,” said Reyes, who played in her last season with the Lady Knights. “We’ve come this far and we just could not afford to lose. It’s great to win the championship again, especially in my last season with the team.”

Mt. Carmel coach Francis San Nicolas said he did not lose faith in his team despite the rally that SIS made in the second set.

“I just had one instruction after the second set and that was to stay focus,” said San Nicolas, who guided the Lady Knights to an unbeaten record in 13 games this season.

San Nicolas fielded a 10-player lineup for the girls high school competition with Karen Sato, Angela Jun, Dayna Macaranas, Ya Han, Quina Flores, and Jennifer Villagomez joining Reyes, Camacho, Louisa Han, and Travilla on the team.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.