Chris Cepeda, William Fong, Andrew Johnson, and Chris Park will be graduating next year but Saiki said they would carefully select players to replace the four and form a strong team that could still dominate the next season.
“We’re still a strong team for next year with a strong group of 8th graders moving to the 9th grade. We will have some moving to varsity while some may not. We will see,” said Saiki.
The Geckos swept their way to the tournament finals to earn the top seeding and the title favorites tag.
SIS was dominant in the elimination round, dropping only one set against Grace Christian Academy, 25-22, 15-25, 15-8, on Oct. 30. They also held their opponents to an average of 12.9 points per set.
The Geckos, behind Johnson’s offensive attacks, managed to find holes on their foes’ defense, baffling them with a dazzling array of drop shots and spikes.
The rest of the team did their share, showing excellent floor defense behind numerous blocks that foiled the opposing squads’ chances to score and consistently making digs to set up SIS’ offense.
In the tournament finals last Saturday, the Geckos easily won their games in the double elimination bracket to earn the first finals berth and the twice-to-beat incentive that goes with it after going undefeated again.
With SIS advancing to the finals first, they waited for the GCA Eagles to pull off 25-19, 25-21 win over the Mt. Carmel School Knights in the loser’s bracket and earn the right of facing the Geckos anew in the finals. It was the third straight year that SIS and GCA played for the title with the Geckos getting the wins in the past two seasons.
In their third finals duel, the Eagles stunned the Geckos in Game 1, 25-23, 25-19, to force a rubber match and hand SIS its first loss the entire season. However, the Geckos won’t be denied of the title win, as they foiled GCA’s upset bid with a 25-17, 25-11 decision and completed their amazing championship run this year. (Jon Perez)