St. JOHN’S Institute high school girls’ volleyball varsity team opened their title retention bid with straight sets victory over the 90s -- 25-18, 25-19 25-15 -- while 2k wins over their young opponents -- 25-9, 23-25, 25-9 -- in the 2nd SJI Alumni Volleyball Friendship Cup played Saturday at the covered court of the Msgr. John B. Liu Activities Center.

The first and third set between the HS varsity and Team 90s showed the varsity squad pulling away early en route to victory while Team 2k pounced on the errors and jittery situation of their rivals to dominate the first and third set, but the elementary girls showed their potential when they took a big lead in the second set and held off 2k.

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In the game between the HS girls and the 90s, the varsity team took a 19-12 lead with sisters Kim and Camille Gequillana and Rosel Sy putting on the defensive pressure on the 90s while teammates, Rica Bayhon, Nadine Severino, and Juralie Lio provided the defense and successful setups and receptions.

Four straight points by 90s’ Jhonna Rogacion, Katrina Lacson and Michelle Ditching cut the lead of HS varsity to 19-16, but Samantha Araneta’s effective setup allowed Camille Gequillana and Rosel Sy several spectacular smashes to deliver four points.

A point from Amber Aguilar for the 90s was answered by a smashing winner from Merlouine Gayondato as both squads traded points.

An error by the varsity team late in the game sparked some hope from the pursuing group as the lead was cut to 24-19, but a service error by the 90s gave the set to the varsity group.

In the other game, scrappy plays and good defense by the elementary girls gave them a 16-10 lead in the second set. Carrying on with their effective strategy, the elementary team kept the lead at 19-13 behind the spiking attacks of Catherine Pollentes, Martha Araneta and Renalyn Hachero.

But two smashing winners by 2K’s Catherine Suarez and Isabelle Juson’s service winners cut the lead to 20-18.

A block by Pollentes gave the elementary a 3-point lead, but a Kathleen Tan smash and Suarez’s two service winners tied the game at 21-all.

A long rally led by elementary girls’ Candice Gequillana and Lyka Yusay gave the elementary girls some breathing room at 23-21 but a service error cost them the game as 2k’s Anne Sajorne tied the count anew at 23 all.

After a return error by 2k on a good placement by Therese Maravila, and a Myka Montelibano service winner sealed the second set for the SJI volleyball.

The games are played in three sets with the winner of the set getting two points and the loser one point.

After the single round robin, the points will be added to determine the team standings. (With a report from Stephen Tan)