While it’s been nearly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic halted high school sports, the beach volleyball scene still showed the same intensity and determination as the St. John’s Knights rallied to drop the Father Duenas Friars in a thrilling three-set victory Monday afternoon.

With the Guam Football Associations beach soccer field as their playground, the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam Beach Boys’ Volleyball season commenced with a day full of competition and laughs among the grit and sand.

The most exciting game of the day was the matchup between the Knights’ Alexander Stenson and Andrew McCormic against Father Duenas’ Ethan Alvarez and Aldan Sampson. The Friars started off strong, winning the first set with the help of Alvarez’s deadly jump serves to pull off the 21-18 win.

The Knights, however, shook off the pandemic rust, hitting a rhythm.

Stenson, after game, admitted they “started off slow. We could have definitely won that first set if we focused a little bit more.”

With Stenson and McCormick now locked in, they worked tirelessly to fend off the Friar attack making diving saves for any loose ball.

It made for a great match up between the two pairs as they exchanged points often, a theme that would remain consistent for the rest of the match. Stenson and McCormic eventually came out victorious with a score of 23-21 in the second set.

The game’s deciding third set saw much of the same with the two teams jockeying back and forth for the lead.

The largest lead of the game came near the end though as the Knights pulled away to 13-10.

With a game point of 15 in the third set, the Knights knew they were that much closer to coming out victorious. Alvarez and Sampson of FD continued to play aggressively when in possession by setting each other up for near-perfect spikes. It still proved to be no match for the Knights defense who took home the set, 15-13.

“It felt good to get the win in the end,” Stenson said. “Hopefully, we can win every game, beat every team and get first place.”

Although happy with the results, both Stenson and McCormic said they were just as excited to be representing their high schools after such a long hiatus.

“It feels good to be back out and start high school sports again. We’ve been waiting to play since quarantine started, and we’re glad we finally did,” said both Stenson and McCormic.