Snacks for Naks sweeps grassroots tourney

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Logan Mister spikes the ball during Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association’s Back to Our Roots-Co-ed 4-on-4 Grass Volleyball Tournament last weekend at the Capitol Hill Baseball Field. (Kimberly B. Esmores)

Snacks for Naks topped the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association’s Back to Our Roots-Co-ed 4-on-4 Grass Volleyball Tournament last weekend at the Capitol Hill Baseball Field.

Snacks for Naks, which consisted of team members Nak Nakashima, Logan Mister, Grace Keilbach, and Ko Kumuch, bested Crypts last Saturday after winning the best-of-3 finals.

The champions started off the finals bleakly, losing 17-21 against their finals oppoonent, Crypts, but they bounced back and gained the title after winning the following final two sets.

The winners managed to turn the tables against their favor foes in the second set with a 21-17 victory, before securing their win in the third set with a 15-12 win.

Snacks for Naks coasted through the double-elimination tournament first besting Ayool, 21-17, to make it to the quarterfinals, where they faced Chupopi and prevailed, 21-15. They managed to take the first finals seat after beating Crypts in their semifinals match.

Crypts, on the other hand, which consisted of Iszel Esteves, Mike Omar, Jerry Saures, Mason Padahk, Ryan Camacho, and Alfredo Guevarra, had a harder time securing their seat in the finals.

The eventual runner-up bested The Big Ducks in their first match of the tournament, 21-14, before moving on to challenge Old But Gold in the quarterfinals. After defeating them, the team moved on to land its first battle against Snacks for Naks before getting knocked into the loser’s bracket.

In the loser’s bracket, Crypts strived for another chance at a finals seat. They faced Chupopi in the semifinals of the loser’s bracket and won, securing the second finals seat.

In a previous statement from NMIVA president Somia Quan, she said grass roots volleyball is important as it is the first line of exposure to volleyball for children in the CNMI, especially children whose households don’t play volleyball.

“Grass roots programs are significant because it is often the first exposure of volleyball that young individuals will have if there isn’t someone in their household that is a volleyball lover. It’s usually at the foundational level and primarily recreational, the introduction of the sport for a youngster. Also, these grassroots programs tend to get people who are not normally a volleyball player somehow involved, whether it’s running the tournament boards or becoming an official,” she said.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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