Upsets highlight PSL volley semis
By Jon PerezReporter
Upsets were the order of the day in the Junior Varsity division of the 2007 Private School League yesterday at the Marianas High School Gym.Defending champion Whispering Palms marched through the finals after pulling off a hard-earned 25-23, 18-25, 15-4 upset win over the top-ranked Saipan International School Green, while third-seed Seventh Day Adventist ousted No. 2 Grace Christian Academy, 17-25, 25-10, 15-11.The fifth-ranked Whispering Palms arranged a title showdown against SDA in today's finals at 4:30pm after the 3:30pm consolation match between GCA and SIS Green. The games will be played at Whispering Palms in Navy Hill.It was a tightly fought contest as the defending champions managed to save two set points to comeback and win the first set.SIS Green then bounced back from an opening set loss and dominated the net en route to a 25-18 second set win to force a rubber.SIS Green looked poised to ending Whispering Palms' title bid when they went up 3-0 as Becca Newman's wards were pumped up in the game.Whispeing Palms, however, got their acts together and scored five straight points to go up 5-3 then leaned on Caleb Arriola's seven service points to pull away and secure the win.Errors did not help the SIS Green cause as they let the game slip away from their hands.It was a painful loss for the SIS Green after going undefeated the whole season that earned them the top seeding.Whispering Palms won the title last year when they beat the Melissa Halaby-led SIS crew.In the varsity tournament, No. 4 Marianas Baptist Academy and third-seed GCA defeated the upset-minded and fifth-ranked Calvary Christian Academy and Northern Marianas Academy.The MBA Storm swept past CCA, 25-23, 25-16, while the GCA Eagles clawed the NMA Stingrays, 25-10, 25-15.CCA battles MBA into a tight contest in the first set but ran out of steam in the second frame to let the Storm march into the semifinal round against the top-ranked Mt. Carmel School Knights.In the Eagles-Stingrays match, GCA was merciless against the Stingrays as they opened up with an 11-1 lead capitalizing on NMA's errors and miscalculated shots.GCA even led 23-4 then allowed NMA to make a brief run before closing out with two set points.The Eagles then put its second stringers in the second set and delivered the killer blow that earned them a semis showdown against No. 2 SIS.The second round of the playoffs in the varsity division will be played on Monday at 3:30pm and 4:30pm at Whispering Palms. Tuesday will be the consolation and finals matches at MHS Gym at 3:30pm and 4:30pm.