Competing against off-island squads would be something new for the nine members of the CNMI U19 girls volleyball team.
The team left Saipan on Friday morning and saw action in the three-day U19 Girls High School Volleyball Championships in Guam, which ended yesterday. They defeated St. John’s School but the final score and the results of their other matches were not yet available at press time.
Team captain Knohlynn Gechig said there was a feeling of mixed emotions among the members of the squad since some would be competing in an off-island tournament for the first time.
“All of us are excited and at the same time nervous. We’re excited to go and experience playing against outside teams,” said Gechig in an interview with the Saipan Tribune before they left Saipan last Friday.
They went up against five teams from Guam—John F. Kennedy High School, Notre Dame High School, Okkodo High School, St. John’s School, and Simon Sanchez High School—and one from Yap. The CNMI girls team arrived at 5pm yesterday.
The NMI girls opened up their campaign against Notre Dame on Friday then next played St. John’s, before facing Team Yap. On Saturday, they met Okkodo in the morning match and JFK in the afternoon before closing out against Sanchez.
Despite having little knowledge of their opponents, the NMI All-Stars are upbeat and added that they trained hard for the tournament even with limited venues.
“We’ve been training since last year. We took a break in the summer and started again in August. We had to alternately use the Hyatt [Regency Saipan] beach volleyball court and Whispering Palms’ concrete volleyball court as training venue after the indoor gyms were damaged by the typhoons,” added Gechig.
“We have no idea on how they played and we don’t really know what we’re going up against but we’ll give it our best shot,” she ended.
Gechig is one of the four graduating seniors of the team along with Marcy Ann Ermitanio, Emily Jones, and Zarinae Sapong.
Danica Camacho, Adele Hudkins, Julia Ishikawa, Sabrina Pangelinan, and Jennifer Tan are the other members of the team. Kathy Winkfield is the coach and was assisted by Toni Yamada.