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Beach volleyball: New normal for PSS athletic program

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Mount Carmel School’s Sam Ryu sets the ball against Grace Christmas Academy during the boys championship of the 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic 4v4 Beach Volleyball League last Saturday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan sand court. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Public School System Student Support Services Athletic Program had to be creative if it wanted to host organize sports this school year.

One of the changes was substituting its regular indoor volleyball league with a beach volleyball competition, which concluded last Saturday with the Mount Carmel School Knights taking the boys championship of the first-ever 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic 4v4 Beach Volleyball League at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan sand court.

According to MCS player Merrick Toves, beach volleyball was much more challenging than the indoor volleyball league they were accustomed to.

“It was really fun but it’s not easy because playing and jumping around in the sand is really hard,” he said.

Randy Steele, MCS volleyball coach, said the first interscholastic beach volleyball tournament was well put together and PSS along with its supporters did a great job.

“What a wonderful tournament. The tournament was a huge success and the kids needed it after being stuck in- doors for a really long time so it was a great event. These guys play a lot of soccer and tennis so they’re use to the heat, this doesn’t affect them,” he said.

Another MCS player, Sam Ryu, said despite the challenging venue, they played hard and truly deserved the win over their rival school, Grace Christian Academy.

“GCA has been our rival team for quite some time now but we played hard and we deserve this win. Overall It was a good match,” he said.

Although MCS won the championship, GCA gave them a run for their money with a challenging three sets. Steele said it’s about how you finish not how you start, “you need to finish strong,” he said.

He said GCA was a great opponent, and he knew they’d give MCS a hard game.

“I’m not surprised that the only loss throughout the whole tournament was from them. They have some really great players and they have a really good volleyball program,” he said.

MCS 1, who had a twice-to-beat advantage, came from behind and swept the last two sets, preventing GCA from extending to a deciding second game.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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