KHS rallies to win 4th straight boys v-ball title

Posted on Nov 19 2011
By Walter J. Sutherland

The Kagman High School Ayuyus pose for a team photo after being presented with the 2011 MISO boys volleyball championship trophy on Thursday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium. (Walter Cepeda Sutherland) Kagman High School Ayuyus overcame hurdle after hurdle to clinch its fourth consecutive Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization boys volleyball championship after the conclusion of Thursday’s double-elimination tournament held at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.

The Ayuyus pulled off the feat in dramatic fashion, dropping the opening set of its last four matchups only to rise to each occasion in the end.

The Ayuyus were downed by the Geckos from Saipan International School in their very first meeting, but KHS battled its way back through the lower bracket to get its revenge.

When they met again in the finals, SIS held a twice-to-beat advantage and won both opening sets in the finals.

“We knew we could do it,” echoed the elated players as they were presented with the MISO championship trophy.

Seniors Anthony Foster, Joshua Jones, Justin Kumagai, and Mike Taitano led the Ayuyus with junior Peter Paul Camacho, sophomore David Foster, and freshmen Kenneth Lizama.

“Even though their backs were to the wall in the last four games, they never lost their confidence. I’m very proud of them because it takes a lot of teamwork to pull off a comeback like that, said KHS coach Emy Quitugua.

KHS actually lost the first set of the finals to the Geckos, 25-27, but roared back in the next two sets, 25-13, and 15-12, to force a tiebreaker.

In the second game, KHS gave up the opening set yet again, 22-25, but would simply not be denied and dominated the Geckos in the final two sets, 25-17 and 15-9.

In the third and final set, KHS’ Jones came alive with seven spikes, a block, and a pair of crafty returns that found a home in SIS territory.

In the previous set, Jones hammered six spikes with a pair of blocks and an ace, while his teammate Kumagai served a clutch ace for the win.

SIS proved to be a worthy adversary, but struggled overall warding off Jones’ powerful spikes, however it took all hands on deck in the effort as the KHS fielded the thinnest roster of the seven-team field.

In addition to the team trophy, the Ayuyus won the opportunity to have a group of U.S. professional players visit their school and host a volleyball clinic sometime in March 2012.

KHS came into the tournament ranked as the third seed, and advanced through the second round of the top bracket over the MHS Awesome Fins in two sets, 25-12, and 25-21.

The Geckos then dropped the Ayuyus down into the lower bracket, 25-20, 23-25, and 15-12.

SIS would go on to defeat the red hot MHS QT’s in the top bracket semifinals, 25-18, 24-26, and 16-14 and earned a twice-to-beat advantage in the championship.

Notably, the MHS QT’s upset top-ranked Grace Christian Academy, 21-25, 25-19, and 18-16 back on Wednesday.

The GCA Eagles came into the tournament undefeated in 12 games, however their playoff run was surprisingly short, only managing to eliminate Saipan Southern High School before being ousted by KHS, 21-25, 26-24, 15-5 in just its third matchup.

As for the champs, they were just beginning what would become perhaps the most dramatic finish of its four-year reign.

KHS dropped the opening set to the MHS QT’s in the semifinals, 18-25, but regrouped to take the final two sets, 25-15, and 18-16.

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