With volleyball gold-medal games wrapping up competition at the 2018 Micronesian Games in Colonia, Yap, Team Guam had one more chance to shine before boarding their flight back home.
In a gutty performance at the Matson Yap Sports Complex, the Guam Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team Guam defeated The Republic of the Marshall Islands 25-23, 26-24, 20-25, 25-17.
Guam team captain Mary Gillan attributed the win to all the early morning workouts at Custom Fitness, to late night practices at Southern High School. “All the time we spent away from our families, all the sacrifice,” is what it took to claim gold.
“The ladies were confident,” said Guam Volleyball Federation President Herman Ada. “The Marshall Islands came to play. This was a very tough match. The (Guam) ladies had to execute error-free (volleyball) ... and they did.”
The women advanced to the championship by knocking off Palau in Thursday’s semifinal in straight sets, 25-17, 25-22, 25-17.
Beating the Rock Island v’ballers was no easy feat; earlier in the tournament, they dropped Guam in pool play in five thrilling sets, 27-25, 25-11, 22-25, 18-25, 15-11.
RMI advanced to the finale by beating Yap 25-11, 25-20, 25-17.
In Guam’s previous meeting with RMI, RMI won a 5-setter, 21-25, 25-9, 25-22, 28-30, 18-16.
In the championship game, Guam came out strong against RMI, taking the first two sets, before dropping the third.
Trailing RMI in the fourth set 16-14, Guam went on an 11-1 rally behind strong play from Muñeka Joy Cruz Taisipic, Mariana A.Q. Kier, and Gillan.
“They just went back to the plan the coaches gave them,” Ada said. They “executed” the plan “almost perfectly.”
With nothing but gold on their minds and winning desire in their hearts, the three, along with the rest of Team Guam went to work.
Kier served strong, allowing Gillan to tap the ball over the net for the 19-16 lead.
When it was Gillan’s turn to serve, she served even stronger, forcing free-balls on the returns, allowing Team Guam to close the door on the Games as winners.
A huge block from Kara Guerrero put Guam five points away from the match at 20-17.
Taisipic hit back-to-back kills and Guam’s lead grew to 22-17.
An RMI hitting error, followed by another Taisipic kill, set up a handful of match points for Guam.
They needed only one.
With players on both sides facing off at the net, Guam blocked a soft shot back to RMI, falling to the floor.
“I’m so proud of them,” Ada said. “They put in a lot of hard work.”
“Before the game, coach Mike told us to pick a person or people to dedicate this game to and fight for them,” Gillan said. “And that’s what we did, we fought hard to defend Guam.”