GCA finishes strong; MHS 1, Mt. Carmel 2 gain advantage

Posted on Feb 19 2021


Grace Christian Academy’s Steven Balakrisha serves to Mt. Carmel School 1 during their game in the opening week of the 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic 4v4 Beach Volleyball League at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan sand courts. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Grace Christian Academy won its remaining games in the preliminary round of the 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic 4v4 Beach Volleyball League to join Marianas High School 1 and Mt. Carmel School 1 and 2 in the Top 4 rankings in the boys division.

The Eagles swept their final five games in the prelims last Saturday at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan sand courts to end up with an 8-1 record and place second in the team standings. GCA’s lone loss in the prelims was against the No. 1 seed MCS 1 (9-0) during the opening week of the competition.

A Mt. Carmel School 2 player bends down for a return during their match against Saipan International School. (Contributed Photo)

After the defeat, GCA’s William Kim, Steven Balakrishna, Ryan Daproza, Anthony Deleon Guerrero, Christian Pamintuan, and Akira Ora downed MHS 3, 21-13; Saipan International School 2, 21-5; Agape Christian School 2, 21-12; MHS 1, 21-17; and MCS 2, 21-15 to gain one of the Top 4 spots heading into next week’s playoffs.

The Eagles, MCS 1, MHS 1 (6-3), and MCS 2 (6-3) will get a bye in the first round of the double-elimination playoffs, leaving the No. 5 to No. 12 teams to compete in the Feb. 26 matches. Tinian and Rota were automatically ranked No. 5 and 6, respectively, as they did not play in the prelims, while SIS 2 (5-4) is at No. 7 and is followed by Agape 1 (4-5), SIS 1 (3-6), MHS 2 (2-7), Agape 2 (2-7), and MHS 3 (1-8). The winners in the battle of lower seeded teams will move to the second round and challenge the Top 4 squads.

Girls division playoffs today
Meanwhile, the girls division playoff round will begin this afternoon.

Matches won’t start until 5:30pm, as PSS will first hold the parade of teams at 5pm. The 12 squads are asked to be at the venue by 4:45pm. After the parade, Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association, which is helping PSS run the competition, will hold a brief ceremony at 5:15pm to honor its outgoing board members.

A Saipan International School 2 player hits the sand after receiving a serve from Marianas High School 1, while his teammates look on during their game in the 2020-2021 Public School System Interscholastic 4v4 Beach Volleyball League at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. (Contributed Photo)

At 5:30pm, four teams will be on the sand courts to start the playoff matches. Mt. Carmel 1 will meet SIS 2, while the other game will be an all-Dolphins affair with MHS 2 squaring off against MHS 3.

The playoff matches will continue tomorrow with the finals tentatively set for 12pm and it will follow a best-of-three sets format with the first two sets a race-to-21 game, while the last and deciding (if needed) will be race to 15.

MHS 1, GCA 1 and 2, and SIS 1 are the early favorites going into this weekend’s playoffs, as they finished in the Top 4 in the preliminary round. MHS 1 was undefeated and had a 9-0 record, while GCA 2 earned an 8-2 mark, and SIS 1 and GCA 1 posted 7-2 and 6-3 slates, respectively.

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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