Flashback: Lady Eagles soar


In this 2018 file photo, Grace Christian Academy’s Karina Dilse kneels to receive the ball during the second set of their game against Saipan International School in the girls high school finals of the 2018-2019 PSS Interscholastic Volleyball League at the Marianas High School Gymnasium. (Saipan Tribune)

On this day, two years ago, the short-handed Grace Christian Academy clinched the girls high school division title in the 2018-2019 PSS Interscholastic Volleyball League.

GCA, which played in the finals minus its four key players, faced perennial rival Saipan International School and needed only two sets to bag the championship. The Lady Eagles labored through a 25-21 victory in the first set and completed the sweep with an easier 25-15 triumph in the second.

The champion squad was made up of Tina Choi, Mika Kimura, Jasmine Phan, Karina Dilse, Seoyeon Wong, and Clerisse Dacumos and coached by Cesar Libut. The title win capped GCA’s domination of the season, as it finished the elimination round with an impressive 15-1 record, absorbing its lone loss in the competition at the hands of eventual third placer Mt. Carmel School.

The Lady Eagles went on to avenge their defeat to the Lady Knights after prevailing in the semis game in the winner’s bracket and getting the first finals ticket. GCA also won over Agape Christian School and Saipan Southern High School to advance to the title match.

The SIS Lady Geckos, on the other hand, topped MHS in their first playoff game before losing to Mt. Carmel in the next match. SIS dropped to the loser’s bracket and had to beat SSHS and Rota before getting back at Mt. Carmel in the rubber to take the last finals seat.

In the title game, GCA and SIS went back and forth, but the Lady Eagles played steadier in the tightly-contested first set to win by four points. GCA picked up where it left off in the second set, holding its ground against the determined SIS crew to finish the championship game early.

Meanwhile, GCA and SIS had a rematch in the finals of the 2019-2020 season with the Lady Eagles scoring a repeat following a 25-20, 25-8 victory in the title game.

GCA wrapped up the season with an unbeaten record, as it also swept the 10-game elimination round.

The Libut-coached Lady Eagles are hoping for a three-peat this year, but the 2020-2021 competition is on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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.
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