Saipan Southern High School 1 rebounded from a first set loss to turn back Saipan International School 2 in three sets as the Public School System Boys High School Volleyball League 2021-2022 season continued last Tuesday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
The last game of a full schedule at the jampacked venue couldn’t be more edge-of-your-seat exciting as the Geckos took control of the game early by nipping a slow-starting Manta Ray crew in the opening set, 21-18.
Fortunately for SSHS coach Shawn Davis, her boys calmed down and played better in the second set by controlling the service game and blocking almost everything near the neat. With the Manta Rays finally waking up and beating SIS 2, 21-13, the game went into a third and deciding set.
It was more of the same in the rubber set, as the Manta Rays continued to pound the ball in the net against the smaller but quicker Geckos. Emanuel Feria and Dylan Lee did most the damage with their blocks, while the rest of the team did a lot of scrambling in covering the shots the two 6-foot seniors failed to thwart. Set and game for SSHS, 15-11.
Aside from Lee and Feria, the rest of the SSHS 1 team is made up of Tommy Jin, Vu Arachchige, Ron Patricio, Vince Guilas, JiaHao Chen, Tyler Andrew, Frankie Satur, Gino Andon, Joshua Garcia, Lerry Marquez, and Franz Abadilla.
Davis said her Manta Ray 1 team has nowhere to go but up following their come-from-behind win against SIS 2, the team’s second in six matches. The loss kept SIS 2 winless after three games.
“Half the team are freshman but there’s a lot of potential. A lot of them are new and they’re just learning the game in this level and I’m having them rotate and switch and play the middle and cover. So, they kind of had a cold start against SIS 2, but they eventually warmed up. What we’re working on is we’re doing different components of the game. First, we started with defense and blocking and then coverage. We’ve just now started on hitting because my first focus is defense, defense, defense. We’re now putting everything together,” she said.
The longtime volleyball coach said even though they lost to powerhouse teams Grace Christian Academy and MHS earlier, the game against the former had them going through another cold start and the one with MHS was stretched to three sets.
“We’ve faced some of the toughest teams so we’re hoping to bring together all the different parts that I’m teaching them and work together as a unit,” she said.
In other games, GCA and Mt. Carmel School 1 remained perfect. The Eagles earlier clobbered SSHS, 21-14, 22-20, to improve to 5-0. MCS 1 is half a game ahead of GCA after beating sister team MCS 2, 21-14, 21-11, and also sweeping Kagman High School, 21-9, 21-16, to up its record to 6-0. MCS 2 dropped to 2-3, while KHS leveled its win-loss card to 3-3.
MHS 1 kept pace with the league-leaders following a 21-10, 21-17 victory over winless MHS 3. The Dolphins 1 now carries a 5-1 record, while Dolphins 3 continued swimming against the tide at 0-5. MHS 2 bagged its third win in five starts following a 21-15, 21-10 win over SSHS 2, which is now 0-6. SSHS 2 earlier dropped 15-21, 10-21 decision against MHS 2.
The Public School System Boys High School Volleyball League 2021-2022 is being held with help from the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association.