The stage has been set for the championship showdown between Grace Christian Academy 1 and Agape Christian School 1.
Agape 1 and GCA 1 advanced to the title game in the middle school division of the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Volleyball League after winning their semis matches yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The Eagles took only two sets to beat Mt. Carmel School, 25-13, 25-18, and move into the finals. The Torchbearers, on the other hand, pulled off a three-set victory over GCA 2, 25-21, 12-25, 15-9. Agape 1 and GCA 1 will battle for the division title on Tuesday at 4:30pm with the Eagles in familiar territory having ruled last year’s competition and the Torchbearers securing a spot in the championship game for the first time in the school’s history.
“It was a very hard-fought victory. GCA has a history of playing really good volleyball from the middle school level all the way up to the high school level, so to be able to beat their second team today was a great achievement for our kids. I am happy to see that their hard work has been paying off,” Agape 1 coach Yang Pang said.
Agape 1 posted a come-from-behind win in the first set, recovering in time behind the flurry of serves from Hannah Yan. The Torchbearers finally grabbed the lead, 21-20, and completed the comeback when GCA 2’s serve fell short.
After a pep talk from GCA 2 coach Genesis Prieto, the Eagles shook off their loss, as they focused on the task at hand and floored the Torchbearers in the second set. GCA 2’s Vicky Wang and Alayna Howard wore their opponents down with their serves, while Ryan Daproza zipped around the court and swatted multiple loose lobs straight onto their opponents. When it was Daproza’s turn to serve, the Eagles’ team captain did not disappoint as he delivered eight serves in a row. T.J. Saures then capped the second set off with five consecutive serves.
With both teams on the brink of elimination in the third set, David Zheng, Bobby Bao, and Yan proved to be the catalysts to ACS 1’s spirited victory. Zheng and Yan hit consecutive serves, while Bao consistently made the right offensive and defensive plays to hand Agape 1 the deciding win and a finals berth.
In the other semis game, Kat Saures and Soleil Lamar spearheaded GCA 1’s win in the opening set with the former delivering seven consecutive overhand serves and the latter launching six straight serves of her own. Mt. Carmel’s Gabby San Nicolas and Brandie Matsumoto countered, but still their efforts were not enough to stop the Eagles in the first set.
In the second set, Juruel Magtalas, Eubin Park, and Hye Jin Elliott stepped up in the crucial moments of the game to end Mt. Carmel’s finals aspirations.