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IT WAS "win big" or "go-home" last night at the Father Duenas Phoenix Center in Mangilao for the Guam Adventist Academy Angels and John F. Kennedy Islanders. Both teams squared off against each other in IIAAG High School Boys Volleyball playoff action. Playing out of the losers' bracket, both teams were fighting to stay alive and advance. At the end of the night, it was the Angels who earned a hard-fought 25-17, 25-27, 25-19 victory over the Islanders.
"It was a hard-earned win for us tonight, it was about us just staying focused and giving it our all," GAA's Dorien Peele said. "JFK gave us a run and they kept us on our toes the whole way through."
With the game equalized at one set apiece, it was no secret that an exciting third set was in store. The Angels quickly started the set with a 2-0 lead backed by thunderous kills by Peele. JFK remained focused and tied the game on the next two plays. From that point on, both teams continued to trade points courtesy of several unforced errors.
With the score knotted at 8-8, the Angels went on a 7-2 run to eventually build a 15-10 lead. The Islanders narrowed their deficit to 15-14 courtesy of two errors by GAA and a kill and ace by Zakhary and Zhedryk Zacarias, respectively.
The Angels were forced to call a timeout and regroup. The one-minute discussion proved to work as GAA managed to build a 21-15 lead. JFK wasn't ready to throw the towel in and managed to narrow the gap to 21-18 after kills by Ian Ilagas and Zhedryk Zacarias.
Errors plagued the Islanders in the final moments of the game and allowed the Angels to take a 24-19 lead. After a long volley by both teams, a hitting error by the Islanders gave the Angels match-point and the right to advance.
"This was a fight for us; JFK is a great defensive team and we just had to stay focused," GAA coach Dwight McKeever said.
In the opening set of the game, the Angels wasted no time setting the tempo as they opened up with a 6-2 lead. However, the Islanders were able to make mini-runs and keep the game within striking distance. Down 14-9 midway through, the Islanders cut their deficit to 14-13 backed by the hitting of the Zacarias pair. The Angels settled and closed out the set with a 12-3 run.
Second-set action was a dogfight to the finish. Despite leading by as much as seven points, the Angels weren't able to close out. JFK battled their way through and with the score tied at 25-25, an error by GAA and a set-ending kill by Zakhary Zacarias forced a deciding third set.