The indoor volleyball season’s action reached the semifinal stage at the First Baptist Church gym on Saturday with two sizzling games.
In the first match, top seed Asian Retail faced the fourth ranked Ladybugs.
The early part of the first set was dominated by the Ladybugs who at one stage led 10-1 as the lineup for Asian Retail found star player Mireia “Mia” Alvarez stuck in the back court and unable to contribute to the attack.
By the time Alvarez reached the front court, Asian Retail was down 14-5.
With Alvarez on the attack, Asian Retail closed the gap to four points until she was forced to leave a few minutes later. She ended the day with two kills and a dig on her limited time in the first set.
In Alvarez’s absence, Domonique Linwood led Asian Retail stats with five kills and two service aces, along with Anita Lansdell who had a kill, two service aces and a dig.
For the Ladybugs, Karlie Cross and Jessica Wolfenden each had nine kills on the game and defensively Wolfenden was dominant and Cross impressed with two monster blocks.
With this potent Ladybugs team in command and Asian Retail missing key members, the first set was won handily by the Ladybugs 25-19.
The second set was an entirely different matter as Asian Retail found their stride and returned a number of well-spiked balls to keep rallies alive and showed moments of brilliance to keep the score tight.
But in the end it was the combination of too much offense from Kross and Wolfenden and numerous unforced errors by the Asian Retail that saw them also lose the second set 26-24.
In the second match of the evening, the second ranked FBC Angels played third ranked Survivors in a match full of action and drama from start to finish.
In the first set, it was Heather Thompson for the Angels making her presence felt, reeling off kill after kill to help FBC secure the first set 25-23 in spite of a gallant effort by Stacy-Ann Kelly and Chlouie Gaetos for the Survivors.
The injured Carmen “Brad” Picate watched the Survivors from the sidelines. With the first set won, the Angels looked certain to ascend to the finals.
But with the second set about to begin, Picate emerged from the locker room and hobbled to join the Survivors on the sidelines, now in uniform and complete with an ankle brace.
The crowd of onlookers saw her take her position on the court and the enthusiasm among her teammates quickly spread. For the Angels, it meant another attacker to account for and Picate made her presence felt, contributing to the attack despite her physical limitations, each time landing and removing pressure from her ankle.
With a renewed enthusiasm and inspiration with their star on the court, the Survivors went on to win the second set handily 25-20 to set up the deciding set.
Heather Thompson, who had 10 kills, two blocks and a dig on the game, once again led the charge for the Angels who led 12-10 in the final set, only to see that lead fade quickly, with Picate serving up tough balls and scoring two aces to help the Survivors lead 13-12 in the dying seconds.
The Angels tied the score 13-13, but with Thompson of the Angels now trapped in the back court and unable to block, it was open season for Kelly for the Survivors who knocked down the final ball set from teammate Krista Ebanks to win it 15-13.
Kelly finished the game with 11 kills, two digs and two aces but all were inspired by Picate’s play, as she had an amazing eight kills in just two sets on the court while hobbling on an injured ankle.
Gaetos continues to shine and with six kills, two aces and two digs in the game, she has firmly secured her position in the starting six line-up for the Survivors.
For FBC, other notables were Brenda Mascarenas with five service aces and Amanda Wong with three kills. The Survivors will now face the Ladybugs in the finals at Camana Bay on Saturday, while FBC will play Asian Retail in the third place match on Wednesday at the First Baptist Church gym.
Scores and highlights in addition to video links to the games can be found on www.civf.ky.