For Immediate Release — November 15, 2011 |
Charly Hoff: Public Affairs Officer | 315-644-5657
Rebecca Snow: DoDEA Pacific Student Press Corps
Title-hungry high school athletes from Guam, mainland Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, and the Philippines were bumping, setting, and spiking at the DoDEA Pacific Far East Division I Girls Volleyball Tournament hosted here Nov. 7-12 by Seoul American High School.
Of the 16 participating teams, seven traveled all the way from Guam. George Washington High School, Academy of Our Lady Guam, Guam High School, Simon Sanchez High School, Notre Dame High School, John F. Kennedy High School, and Southern High School came quite a long way from home to compete for the Far East crown.
Mainland Japan was represented by five schools including Christian Academy Japan, Seisen International, American School in Japan, and DoDEA Japan District’s Kinnick and Yokota High Schools. Representing the DoDEA Okinawa District were Kadena and Kubasaki High School.
Seoul American High School was the only participant from South Korea and Faith Academy was the only participant from the Philippines.
The first serve to open the tournament zipped across the court on Nov. 7 as teams began pool play. Each of the 24 pool play matches lasted two sets and every team’s winning set gave them points for division play placement on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Strong performances by SAHS, Seisen, ASIJ, and Kinnick placed them in the gold bracket for division play. Division play amped up the action by bracketing similarly skilled teams together in contests determined by the best two-out-of-three sets. Seeding for the final championship round was determined by how teams finished in division play.
As the championship round began Thursday, winning teams advanced to the top brackets while teams with one loss moved into the consolation brackets. Teams with two early losses in the championship round were eliminated from earning one of the top eight places available in the overall Far East Tournament. Faith and CAJ played for the seventh and eighth place finishes with Faith Academy winning a solid victory in two sets. Simon Sanchez and AOLG played down to the final point in three sets for fifth and sixth place respectively. Simon Sanchez came on strong down the stretch for their fifth place finish.
The semifinal and final matches were determined by a best three-out-of-five sets. Seisen defeated returning Far East champion SAHS in three sets to capture third place. Kinnick and ASIJ battled it out to separate champion from runner-up. ASIJ won the first two sets handily at 25-20 and 25-12. The third set was a dramatic see-saw contest where either team could have won, but in the end, ASIJ pulled through 25-23 to claim first place in the tournament.
The sportsmanship awards went to JFK and George Washington while sophomore Liz Thorton from ASIJ was named Most Valuable Player for the tournament.
All-Tournament Team selectees included: Grace Fern and Kelly Hardeman from Faith; Jade Vasconcellos and Elizabeth Warner from Seisen; Analisa Galendez from Simon Sanchez; Mashiya McKinney and Emily Stith from Kinnick; Tammy Garman and Tiffaney Mitchell from SAHS; Sydney Glover from Yokota, Amanda Torres and Maricon Vilena from JFK; Baileigh Gibson from ASIJ; and Isabella Denight and Marissa Maratita from AOLG.
Each team stood out from the crowd through unique strengths such as team chemistry, solid hitters, experienced setters, and entertaining cheers and chants. The diversity of the schools was striking, but every team shared a common trait: every one of the 16 teams played strong and hard for their victories.