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First Annual Marianas Junior Cup a huge success!

posted Feb 20, 2012, 4:37 PM by NMI Volleyball
2012 Marianas Junior Cup (Guam) Top Five Finishers
First of all, we would like to make sure to thank all of our sponsors – First Hawaiian Bank, Pacific Islands Club, Matson, Mobil, The Beach, M80 Systems, GHD, DNA Evolution, Pepsi, Hanom and Gatorade. 

This tournament is just the kick-off for the 2012 Marianas Cup Beach Volleyball Festival.  The action will continue next weekend in Saipan with the 20th Annual Marianas Cup Pro/Am.  Pros from Japan, US and New Zealand will compete alongside Guam and Saipan players for big cash prizes.  The weekend after will be the Marianas Kids’ Cup for players 17U and 14U. 

The tournament was set-up up to have two divisions for men and women, 18U and 21U, due to the lack of interest from the 21U crowd (only 1 men’s team and 2 women’s), we combined them.  We had 12 men’s teams and 7 women’s teams.  For the men there were two pools of six on Saturday and the ladies had one pool with all seven teams.  All teams advanced.  The pool play was used to seed the teams for the double elimination play on Sunday.  Also, on Saturday there was a pro exhibition between Kentaro Ashai/Katsuhiro Shiratori (JPN) versus Ty Loomis (US)/Josh Cruz (GUM).  The team from Japan won 21-17.  Then the pros along with the top Guam players put on a clinic for anyone interested. 

The top seed for the men out of the pool play was Zak and Zhed Zacarias from Guam –JFK students.  They were upset in their second game by Saipan’s John Nekaifes and Jordan Mariano, 23-21.  That sent the twins to the loser’s bracket.  Meanwhile, the number two seeded team of Steven Rect and Luis Mesngon, rolled through their first two opponents, 21-16 and 21-13 to advance to a winner’s bracket final match-up against John and Jordan.  The GW students took down the players from the island to the north 21-19 to secure the first spot in the final.

In the loser’s bracket Zak and Zhed found their rhythm and bagan winning with authority.  They beat another Saipan team, AJ Aguilar and Jason Limes, 21-11.  Then beat Mark Duenas and Peter Aguon 21-15.  Which gave them a chance at some revenge in a rematch against John and Jordan, the game was very different than the first meeting and Zak and Zhed cruised o a 21-10 victory making it an all Guam final.  The twins had to beat Luis and Steven twice to win the crown.  They did so with some precision shots and great defense.  Despite there being some great rallies and good ups by Luis, the games weren’t very close as Zak and Zhed won 21-12 and 21-15.   

On the ladies’ side, it was all Toni Kasilyn Yamada and Charnessa Lizama from Saipan all day on both days as they didn’t lose a game the entire tournament, but they were challenged a couple times by their Guam counter parts.  Out of pool play Toni and Charnessa were the one seed with Gemma Datuin and Kendra Byrd the two seed.  The two teams met on Saturday with Toni/Charnessa coming out on top of a see-saw battle, 16-14.  In their first game on Sunday, Toni/Charnessa defeated St. John’s stand-outs Kristina Folta and Alex McCaroll 21-13.  McCarol and Folta were the 5 seed.  Kendra and Gemma easily defeated Josie Santos and Celine Camacho 21-8 to set-up the game the fans had been waiting for in the winner’s bracket final.  Toni and Charnessa jumped out to a 10-4 lead, but some great hustle and serving from Gemma brought her and Kendra back into and they held a 14-12 lead nefore the Saipan express got back on track.  Toni and Charnessa surged again and won the game 21-15 to put themselves in the final.  All the effort of climbing out of that hole took it’s toll on Kendra and Gemma.  It was all too evident in their next game against Alex and Kristina as the five seed took down the two seed 22-20 in the best match of the day for the ladies’ bracket.  The St. John’s girls used some precision passing to keep the elder opponents on the run and out of their normal game.  Usually, volleyball is a three hit per side game, but they were coming over intentionally on one and two and it paid great dividends as they ended up in the final against Toni/Charnessa.  Alas, the Saipan Express rolled on in the final beating Alex/Kristina in an entertaining final 21-16.  Every time Alex/Kristina mounted a run, Toni/Charnessa shut-it down with a good cut shot or a big dig.