After falling short in its title bid last season, Saipan International School is determined to finish on top this time around in the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Volleyball League.
The Lady Geckos lost to Grace Christian Academy in last year’s finale and SIS had the same fate in the boys division when it was beaten by Mt. Carmel School. This season, SIS eyes revenge, as it squares off anew with GCA in the girls championship game at 3:30pm at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, while the Geckos will also be pitted against the Eagles in the boys title match at 4:30pm.
Malika Miyawaki, who was part of the SIS team that made it to the championship game last season, is glad that they are back in the finals and have a chance to redeem themselves.
“I was happy that both SIS teams made it to the finals. Last year, we also both made it to the finals, but both of us lost,” Miyawaki said. “We hope to get the championship for both the girls and boys this time.”
A.J. Hudkins, the Geckos starting blocker and middle hitter, will be playing in his last game in the league and hopes their hardwork throughout the season will help them gain the finals trophy this year and rebound from last season’s heartbreaker.
“I was really happy about it (making it to the championship game) because it’s a good final chance to win it all for the seniors from both the boys and girls teams. We practice with the girls often and it’s great to see that both of our teams’ hard work paid off,” Hudkins said.
While Miyawaki is excited for the winner-take-all game today, she acknowledged that GCA will not be an easy foe and that they will have to overcome both the Lady Eagles’ aggressive style of play and any negative emotions that might pop up in the most important match of the season.
“GCA is very strong. They are very consistent and are very aggressive,” Miyawaki said. “I believe that we have to communicate well and keep a positive attitude to beat GCA. We can’t waste time on feeling sad or mad.”
Miyawaki’s teammate and fellow starting spiker, Sally Lai, agreed with the former’s observations on what will it take to defeat GCA.
“I believe that if our team continues to play as one with all our individual strengths combined, [and if we] stay calm, composed, and consistent, I think we have a chance of beating GCA,” Lai said.
SIS boys team captain Junhee Lee agreed that it will take a cohesive team effort for them to secure the coveted trophy. With the Geckos responsible for dealing the Eagles their only loss this season, Lee and company know what it takes to overpower the favored team.
“The only thing that we have to do to beat GCA in the finals is just play what we practiced,” the 12th grader said. “If we communicate and play the best we can play, then I believe that we will be able to beat them.”
Hudkins added that they have a good chance to stifle the Eagles because they are more physically and mentally prepared than in the previous years.
“I have complete faith that our team is fully capable of winning the championship. The main thing is to have a good mindset and concentrate,” Hudkins said. “We’ve had trouble in the past composing ourselves, but we are now very experienced and us, seniors, are strong mentally.”