The National Volleyball League produced some stirring action in the Women’s Division this week.
At First Baptist Church on Tuesday evening, Survivors entered the game in third place and headed for the playoffs against the Ladybugs, who needed to win at least one set to tie for the fourth and final playoff spot and force a tie-break decision.
Ladybugs fought fiercely for every point in the first set behind numerous kills and digs by their star player, Karlie Cross. But it was to no avail as they succumbed to the relentless Survivors attack and lost 25-18.
It seemed that the playoffs were slipping away, but the Ladybugs took the court in the second set determined to make one last push.
The rallies were long and amazing as good spikes led to good digs on the other side of the court.
Carmen “Brad” Picate continued to lead the charge for the Survivors, with youngster Chlouie Gaetos also putting away numerous sets by Krista Ebanks.
The lead went back and forth deep into the second set and was tied 21-21 when an errant pass resulted in two players colliding at the net, and an injury to Picate, who was forced to leave the game having accumulated four kills, two service aces and a dig.
For the Ladybugs, it was a slight opening to win a set and they attacked with a renewed vigor.
Cross made several huge plays to lift the Ladybugs to a 25-23 win in the second set, with an astounding 10 kills, 12 digs, two service aces and a block on the game.
Krista Ebanks and Gaetos led the Survivors to 16-14 victory in the third set to win the match 2-1 in a marvelous display of volleyball.
With the Ladybugs winning a set in the earlier match, the pressure now shifted to the Exotic Ladies playing in the second match as they knew a tie-break decision would go to the Ladybugs.
For the Exotic Ladies, they faced an uphill battle playing the mighty Asian Retail. Having pulled off the upset against the FBC Angels, the Exotic Ladies clearly felt they had a chance to win at least one set and advance to the playoffs.
In the first set, it was Lalaine Shirley who had 10 kills on the night, and Illean Powery who had six kills, two aces and two digs leading the charge for the Exotic Ladies, but unforced errors ultimately saw them lose 25-15.
In the second set, it was much tighter, but for Asian Retail it was a total team effort as good passes went to Flerendina “Dina” Wood, who set numerous balls to the Asian Retail three-pronged attack of Mireia “Mia” Alvarez, Lotis Salvaloza and Anita Lansdell, who combined for 20 kills, nine service aces and two digs.
To their credit, the Exotic Ladies never gave up and competed until the last point, with Maricel Ador and Levin Vallo combining for seven big digs. The Exotic Ladies watched this final opportunity to make the playoffs fade as they lost the second set 25-21.
Asian Retail finished the regular season as the top seed and will face the Ladybugs in what is sure to be an interesting match-up given both teams’ defensive prowess, attacking power and the potential presence of beach star Jessica Wolfenden in the Ladybug lineup in the semifinal.
In the night’s final game, the FBC Saints took on ALT’s Grills in a game having playoff implications in the Men’s Division.
FBC jumped out to the early lead with four kills each for Heron Espinosa, Ricky Ducent, Mark Ray and Genesis Manoy.
For ALT’s Grills, Eduardo Severino and Sebastien Mirbel with four kills each and Jessie Pie with three kills topped the scoring.
FBC played well in the first set to the delight of their adoring fans to take the first set 25-21.
The second set was certainly more of a struggle, with Jesse Pie making some critical blocks to keep the score close.
However, FBC also won the second set 26-24 to win the match. While both of these teams have secured a play-off berth, it remains to be seen who each team will face in the semifinals next week.
With the win, FBC hopped over Chemistry to tie with ALT’s Grills.
The CIVF National League playoff action continues this weekend, with two games taking place at the First Baptist Church gym on Saturday.
In the Women’s Division, Asian Retail will face the Ladybugs at 7 p.m. and FBC Angels will play Survivors at 8 p.m.
For more information, go to www.civf.ky.