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Defeat defending champs in season opener
THE Interscholastic Middle School Boys' Volleyball League kicked off its 2012 season yesterday afternoon with several games on schedule.
Down south, the defending champion Inarajan Warriors played host to the FBLG Hawks at the Inarajan Gym. After a hard-played game by both teams, the visiting team from Yigo dealt the defending champs their first loss in nine games dating back to last season. The Hawks needed three sets (23-25, 25-20, 15-7) to defeat the Warriors.
“Both teams did really well. Today's game came down to which team could limit their errors and create runs,” said Inarajan Athletic Director Steve Paulino. “It's going to be a great season, and we still have a championship to defend.”
In the opening set, the Hawks' Alexander Rice gave his team a quick 4-0 lead after serving up four straight aces. The defending champions remained poised and got right back into the game when Damian Castro and Christian Toves-Leon Guerrero recorded two kills and two aces combined. Inarajan eventually took their first lead of the game after a nicely placed hit by Napu San Luis gave them a 6-5 lead moments later.
Later in the first set, the Hawks trailed 17-11 and began to make a move. Taking full advantage of unforced errors by Inarajan and several aces by Rice and teammate Takayoshi Mori, the Hawks narrowed the gap to 17-16.
The Warriors proved why they were the defending champs and put themselves at set point after Toves-Leon Guerrero raked in three more aces in the run. However, the Hawks created another run to pull within one (24-23) and gave the Warriors a scare. Despite the valiant comeback, FBLG fell short and gave Inarajan the opening set on a hitting error.
The second set started much like the first with the Hawks jumping out to a 4-0 lead backed by service aces from Mathew Pascual. A kill by Toves-Leon Guerrero put a brief halt to the early run. However, the Hawks seemed more determined to equalize the game at one set apiece. Despite tying the game on three other occasions, the Warriors weren't able to clinch a lead throughout the set. The Hawks battled and fought their way to closing out and earning a 25-20 second-set victory and pushing the game to its limit.
The defending champions looked rattled heading into the third set and just couldn't get anything going. A set-opening error by the Hawks gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead. However, that was the only lead Inarajan held and they trailed the rest of the way. With errors plaguing their offensive attempt, Inarajan made things easier for the Hawks. With the score 11-7, FBLG managed to close with four straight points to include a game-clinching ace by Jhulian Ybanez.
“FBLG did really good tonight, we let a lot of mistakes hurt us and we paid for it,” said Inarajan's Napu San Luis. “We still have plenty of games left; we just have to work on our game.”