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Trailing by two sets in the championship match to Seoul American and having already finished second in the regular-season standings, the Taegu American Warriors boys volleyball team could have settled for another silver medal and called it a season.

Most Valuable Player and best hitter Duri Balat would have none of it, rallying the Warriors to a 19-25, 25-27, 25-20, 25-14, 15-13 triumph and the first Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I (large schools) Tournament title in school history.

“Duri was the story,” said Warriors coach Chance Wilson. “He is phenomenal to watch … his presence opened up opportunities for others to do well. If he hit it directly at an opponent, they could only try their best to keep the ball inbounds. If he hit it to an open spot, everybody could only stand and watch it go by.”

It was a sweet ending to a season which the Warriors began without a head coach, until Wilson stepped forward. They then fashioned a 6-4 regular-season ledger, a match behind 7-3 Seoul Foreign and tied for second with a Seoul International team they didn’t beat during the campaign.

Not as successful was the Warriors girls team, which won the first regular-season KAIAC crown in school history but faltered in the tournament on Taegu’s home court at Camp Walker, taking third behind champion Seoul Foreign and runner-up Seoul American.

After sweeping the regular-season series from the Crusaders and Falcons, the Warriors took the first set against Seoul Foreign on Friday 25-23 but lost the next three 25-8, 26-24, 25-21. On Saturday, Taegu dropped a four-setter to Seoul American 26-24, 19-25, 25-21, 25-17, to earn the bronze.

“The competition was very intense,” Denny Hilgar said after his Falcons lost 25-17, 22-25, 29-27, 18-25, 17-15 to the Crusaders in the championship.

In other KAIAC season-ending tournaments:


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