Marianas High School foiled Mt. Carmel School’s bid for a pair of volleyball titles after sweeping the Knights in the finals of the 2017-2018 All Island Championship last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Mt. Carmel entered the inaugural All Island duel with the hopes of winning another championship after beating Saipan International School in the finale of the 2017-2018 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Volleyball League, 25-10, 25-18, last Friday. However, the Dolphins spoiled the Knights’ double celebration after recording a 25-22, 25-16 win in their title showdown.
Though it took MHS only two sets to prevail against MCS, Mark Eleazar Feliciano, who along with Jerret Rosario coached the winning team, said downing the Knights was a tough task, especially after they lost to the same squad during the regular season of the private school league. MHS had a 10-3 record in the private school competition with their two other defeats recorded against Grace Christian Academy and Marianas Baptist Academy.
“We knew the game against MCS was going to be tough and we respect their players for putting up a good fight. We really had to strategize and learn about their weaknesses and strengths. What helped us snatch the championship trophy were our optimism and drive to win. I knew that we had weaknesses too, such as our team’s mentality, but the night before the championship, I told my players to focus on the game and be there for each other—motivate one another. The game could’ve favored either teams, but I believe our players leveled up their game during the finals. It also helped that we received an overwhelming support from our school, as students, staff, and teachers came and cheered us,” Feliciano said.
Ryan Relucio, one of the players on the MHS roster, also acknowledged the support they received from the MHS family.
“We were able to win the game because of the support system we had, from our coaches who ensured that we were focused throughout the game to our whole school that cheered us on throughout the season and most especially during the championship game. We all felt hyped by the cheers from our supporters during the game and that helped us a lot,” Relucio said.
He also took note of the team’s chemistry and the challenge presented to them as they played against private school teams in the month-long competition.
“The dynamics and chemistry of our squad were there throughout the season since majority of the players from the squad that won last year’s tournament were still present and we had several new members that perfectly fit into the squad. Our team had a common goal and we all knew what it was and we were able to execute. Just like what Alan Hinson, who was the championship MVP, said to us after the game—it was a team effort,” the MHS senior said.
“All the private schools gave us a good game, especially MCS,” Relucio added.
Joining Relucio and Hinson on the champion squad are team captain Benji Seman, Eunsyu Hahn, Jerico Castro, John Costales, Kaystone Norech, Logan Mister, Jimmy Blancia, Ryutaro Litulumar, Nilo Calimag, and Andrei Manalo.