Saipan International School 1 finished off Agape Christian School in two sets in the girls division of the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association last Wednesday.
Lady Geckos notched a 25-17, 25-22 victory against Lady Torchbearers at the latter’s court in Gualo Rai to hike their record to 4-1 for third place in the team standings. Agape suffered their eighth loss of the season and has only one win.
Though it swept Agape, SIS 1 had to douse the Lady Torchbearers’ fiery run in the second set. Setter Judy Liang and frontline players Sally Lai, Maury Tybaco, and Malika Miyawaki teamed up in withstanding Agape’s rally, as they consistently made an effort to bring out the best from each other, especially in the crucial moments of the second set.
“I learned that each person on our team has strengths that are all very important to our squad” Miyawaki said. “How well we play depends on how we use our strengths.”
With the Lady Geckos holding a comfortable 18-11 lead in the final set, Agape’s Elizabeth Xu caught fire from the server’s line and delivered four consecutive serves to move her team within three, 15-18. However, SIS regained possession and won the next exchange to push its advantage to 22-17. Agape then made another run behind Ivy Yu’s five uninterrupted serves and her impressive performance helped Agape cut the deficit to one, 21-22.
The Torchbearers’ final push prompted SIS coach Mili Saiki to call a timeout. The lull went on to work on the Lady Geckos’ favor, as when the game resumed, they regained their defensive composure, while Liang set up Miyawaki for the final two spikes to conclude the thrilling second set.
In the first set, SIS 1 and ACS exchanged possessions until the Lady Geckos broke the 14-14 stalemate behind Liang’s masterfully placed sets for Lai and Miyawaki. It was all SIS 1 from thereon, moving the squad one set away from securing the win.
After beating Agape, the Lady Geckos have a couple of make-up matches left in the regular season, but their mindset is now in the playoffs, as they aim at sharpening their skills for the most crucial phase of the competition. The Lady Geckos are setting their sights on the championship, but they know that they have a lot of adjustments to make to secure the volleyball crown.
“I believe that our team needs to work on playing smart in the playoffs,” Miyawaki said. “Making the right decision on each point is very crucial for us to win the championship.”
Meanwhile, Agape’s boys team avenged their female counterparts’ loss by stonewalling SIS in two sets, 25-23, 25-19. Agape now holds a 3-2 mark, while SIS fell to a 2-2 slate.
In other results last Wednesday, Mt. Carmel School’s junior varsity squad outclassed SIS 2, 25-23, 19-25, 15-4. MCS JV bagged its third win in nine games, while SIS 2 absorbed its fifth loss against only one victory.