Undefeated Geckos cap off perfect volleyball season with a championship

CHAMPIONS: The George Washington High School Geckos girls varsity volleyball team defeated the Tiyan High School Titans 25-20, 27-25, 25-13 during the GDOE ISA championship game Wednesday, April 14, at GW. Matt Weiss/The Guam Daily Post

The two times George Washington High School and Tiyan High School met during the 2021 Guam Department of Education Interscholastic Sports Association girls’ volleyball regular season, the Geckos dominated the Titans in straight sets.

In Wednesday night’s championship game, at George Washington, the undefeated Geckos completed the trifecta, defeating the Titans 25-20, 27-25, 25-13.

“This feels amazing, first championship in my high school career,” said GW middle blocker Bella Clement, whose dominant net play set the tone for the match.

On the path to the finals, the Geckos met the Simon Sanchez High School sharks in the semifinals and dropped the first set before rattling off three straight. The Geckos, knowing that they did not want to drop the opening set against Tiyan, came out firing.

“I was really pumped in the first set, because I know if we start the first set good, we play a good game through out,” Clement said. “We didn’t want to make the same mistake of coming out slow in the first set. We wanted to come out firing.”

Near the end of the second set, Tiyan’s Rylee Guzman hit three aces, and the visiting Titans had their largest lead of the match, 24-20. But with four set points, a string of Tiyan errors and strong play from GW’s Bonita Castro cost them the lead. Trailing 25-24, Castro tapped shot for a winner to the open court. After another Tiyan error, GW arrived at set point. Castro, as she had done all season long, leaped and tapped the set-winner.

“It feels amazing,” Castro said. “I was just being confident. We kept pushing, even though we were nervous.”

With a two-set lead, the Geckos sensed victory. But for the first eight points of the third set, the Titans matched the Geckos’ intensity.

With the set tied 4-4 and with George Washington’s Lola Aguon serving, the 4-foot-11 powerhouse strung together a series of eight straight serves. Making her job easy, Castro hit two well-placed taps onto Tiyan’s unprotected floor.

“Honestly, I don’t know, I think I’m going to cry every time I think about it,” said Aguon, sharing her feelings on winning the first-ever GDOE ISA girls’ volleyball championship. “It’s so overwhelming."

She said that watching her sisters win championships inspired her to play volleyball.

”it’s what inspired me to play. Having it yourself is a totally different feeling,” she said. 

Joie Almoguera, a GW freshman, is excited to have won her first-ever high school title.

“I’m very happy to come into GW and win a championship along with these amazing women,” she said. “I’m very glad to have coach Bobbie Quinata. She’s taught us so many things, and she’s led us to the top.”

In the third place game, the Sharks defeated the Okkodo High School Bulldogs 25-17, 15-25, 25-19, 28-26.