HOPE Christian High School braces for a tough title-retention campaign as it faces eight top local teams and a fancied Australian youth squad in the Shakey’s Girls Volleyball Tournament-of-Champions which fires off Monday at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The Hope tossers, behind MVP Justine Dorog, wore down Colegio San Agustin in a grueling four-setter to retain the NCR leg crown recently and lead the winners of the other regional tournaments in the T-of-C spiced up by the participation of the tall, youthful Aussie team.
The visiting squad arrived late last night and expressed confidence of its chances in the six-day tournament put up by Shakey’s Pizza and organized by Metro Sports to help sustain the development of the sport which continued to gain tremendous popularity the last few years.
Backing up Dorog are Desiree Cheng, Bel Molde and Chester Ong.
NCR leg runner-up Colegio San Agustin, led by the troika of Ana Gopico, Samantha Torres and Julia Morado, is also competing in the event supported by Toby’s Sports, Mikasa as official ball, Tune Hotels as official residence of T-of-C, Asics and Volley Prep as chief backers.
Others vying for the crown are the champions of the Northern, Central (Southwestern University) and Southern Luzon, and Eastern (New Ormoc City National High School), Central and Western Visayas and Mindanao (Davao City National High School).
But focus will be on the Australian squad from the State of Victoria, led by the power-hitting combo of Kat Janssen, Kate Hutchinson, Lucy Konjarski, Katie Bacon and Eloise Leidle with Nikita Peril and Letitia Sindt to set up the team’s play patterns.
Other members of the team, handled by coach George Santamaria, are passers Lucy Boyes, Hannah Wright and Tayla Mangles and liberos Vivien Maslov and Mikayla Faltyn.