The Father Duenas Memorial School Friars beach volleyball team on Thursday handed the Tiyan High School Titans their first loss of the season.
With the setting sun quickly dipping below the horizon and FD’s Jeremiah Nguyen and Jacob Herrera taking control of a three-set thriller against VJ Rosario and Calib Naputi, the private school boys clinched the victory, 2-1.
The Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam match, a midseason classic, took place at the Guam Football Association National Training Center in Harmon.
With head-to-head matches tied 1-1, and the day’s final trial heading into a third set, Nguyen and Herrera gutted out the win, 21-19, 9-21, 15-7.
In the second set, Rosario and Naputi ripped through the Friars twosome. But, FD, never a team to back down, regained composure and went to work.
“We had high energy putting a lot of pressure on us to make the right plays,” Herrera said. “We were able to stay aggressive after losing the second set and stay focused.”
On both sides of the net, with staunch defense and high-flying offense, FD's resolve remained unshaken.
“It always starts with defense,” Nguyen said.
“The key to beach is ball control and good communication, said Manny Guarin, Friars head coach. “The ball went our way today,” said Guarin, adding, his team is, “a good bunch of boys who are open to learning."
"That is keeping us successful,” he said.
Earlier, in team competition, Tiyan’s Xander Duenas and Dominic Pelobello recorded a thrilling three-set victory over Kiko Damian and Thomas Moylan, 19-21, 21-17, 15-11.
Duenas and Pelobello, after dropping the opening frame, won the second set and forced the decider.
Duenas, on match point, just inside the backline, hit a winner.
“We didn’t get down after the first set,” Duenas said. “Just kept fighting for every point."
In the opening match, Kaleb Tennessen and Raymond Castro won a competitive match against Gary Ericcson and Trever Martinez, 21-19, 21-17.
Tennessen said that wind, sun, and rain factored into the outcome.
“You have to communicate with your partner a lot more,” he said
Tiyan, despite the loss, like FD, is 3-1. Titans head coach Rod Pama, helping his athletes adapt to the sand, sees progress.
Beach volleyball is "learning how to play together; when to play fast, and when to play with finesse,” Pama said.