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Seoul American middle blocker Margaret Nurse (13) pushes the ball past the block of Seisen International defender Jessica Eastling (6) during Wednesday's divisional play in the 2005 Far East High School Girls Class AA (large schools) Volleyball Tournament at Yongsan Garrison.
Seoul American middle blocker Margaret Nurse (13) pushes the ball past the block of Seisen International defender Jessica Eastling (6) during Wednesday's divisional play in the 2005 Far East High School Girls Class AA (large schools) Volleyball Tournament at Yongsan Garrison. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Seoul American middle blocker Margaret Nurse (13) pushes the ball past the block of Seisen International defender Jessica Eastling (6) during Wednesday's divisional play in the 2005 Far East High School Girls Class AA (large schools) Volleyball Tournament at Yongsan Garrison.
Seoul American middle blocker Margaret Nurse (13) pushes the ball past the block of Seisen International defender Jessica Eastling (6) during Wednesday's divisional play in the 2005 Far East High School Girls Class AA (large schools) Volleyball Tournament at Yongsan Garrison. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Zama American middle blocker Kat Schultz (14) smashes a spike past Kadena middle blocker Zori Drew (9) during Wednesday's play.
Zama American middle blocker Kat Schultz (14) smashes a spike past Kadena middle blocker Zori Drew (9) during Wednesday's play. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)
Kubasaki middle blocker Kristine Behland (10) slaps a spike past middle blocker Luciana Mendiola (13) of George Washington during Wednesday's action.
Kubasaki middle blocker Kristine Behland (10) slaps a spike past middle blocker Luciana Mendiola (13) of George Washington during Wednesday's action. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

Raelene Tajalle sometime goes unnoticed, being that she’s barely 5 feet tall and overshadowed by the spiking, blocking and defense of middle-blocker teammate Alex Fernandez.

But according to coach Terry Chumley, the sophomore has made giant contributions for Kubasaki, helping the Dragons grab the No. 2 seed in the Far East High School Girls Class AA Volleyball Tournament single-elimination playoffs, which began Thursday.

“She never quits. Total hustle,” Chumley said of Tajalle, who recorded 40 set assists and buzzed after loose balls like an angry hornet in Wednesday’s come-from-behind 25-23, 26-24 victory over George Washington of Guam.

The victory gave the Dragons a 2-1 mark in the gold pool in the divisional-play format used to determine playoff seedings. Christian Academy In Japan took the top seed, American School In Japan was seeded third and George Washington fourth.

Kubasaki became the highest-seeded Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Pacific school and the first to be positioned at the top of a bracket since Zama American of Japan won the tournament in 1997 — the last DODDS-Pacific team to capture the title.

The Dragons might have fallen to the third seed were it not for Tajalle’s play, Chumley said. The setter helped Kubasaki rally from an eight-point first-set deficit. Then, with the Dragons trailing 24-17 in the second set, Tajalle stepped to the service line and served out the final nine points of the match.

“She wasn’t ready to let them win,” Chumley said. “Being a sophomore, she’s improved so much in one year.”

Kubasaki, which reached in the Final Four in 1983 and 2001 but has never won the title, has dropped just two of 12 sets so far.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen with this team,” Chumley said. “They just keep plugging away.”

Taegu braces for four-way Class A battleAlso securing a No. 2 seed was Korea’s Taegu American Warriors, who at 13-3 finished two sets behind round-robin leader Morrison Christian Academy of Taiwan as the Far East Class A Volleyball Tournament double-elimination playoffs loomed Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan.

The two teams found themselves bunched with defending runner-up Faith Academy of the Philippines and Tokyo’s International School of the Sacred Heart in what Taegu coach Jennifer Sharp said would be a tight four-way battle for the title.

“All of these four teams are evenly matched,” Sharp said.

Armed with spiking specialist Lynnette Grant and all-around performer Kadijah Parker, Sharp said she was “nervous but optimistic” heading into the playoffs, which end Friday.

“We have to continue to have unity and go in with the attitude that we have to leave it all on the floor,” Sharp said. “And everybody has to bring their ‘A’ game.”

Class A volleyball

At Sasebo Naval Base, Japan

Final round-robin standings

(listed in order of tiebreakers)

Morrison Christian Academy, Taiwan 14-2

Taegu American, South Korea 13-3

Faith Academy, Philippines 13-3

Sacred Heart, Tokyo 12-4

Osan American, South Korea 7-9

Robert D. Edgren, Japan 5-11

E.J. King, Japan 3-13

Matthew C. Perry, Japan 3-13

Pusan American, South Korea 2-14

Wednesday

Morrison Christian Academy def. E.J. King 25-16, 25-11

E.J. King def. Matthew C. Perry 25-18; Matthew C. Perry def. E.J. King 25-19

Faith Academy def. Pusan American 25-9, 25-10

Sacred Heart def. Taegu American 25-21; Taegu American def. Sacred Heart 25-14

Double-elimination playoffs

Thursday’s matches

Match 1-Matthew C. Perry, Japan, vs. Pusan American, South Korea

Match 2-Osan American, South Korea, vs. Sacred Heart, Tokyo

Match 3-Taegu American, South Korea, vs. E.J. King, Japan

Match 4-Faith Academy, Philippines, vs. Robert D. Edgren, Japan

Match 5-Match 1 winner vs. Morrison Christian Academy, Taiwan

Match 6-Match 1 loser vs. Match 3 loser

Match 7-Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner

Match 8-Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner

Match 9-Match 4 loser vs. Match 5 loser

Consolation match-Match 6 loser vs. Match 9 loser

Match 10-Match 2 loser vs. Match 6 winner

Match 11-Match 7 loser vs. Match 9 winner

Match 12-Match 8 loser vs. Match 10 winner

Friday’s matches

Match 13-Match 7 winner vs. Match 8 winner

Match 14-Match 11 winner vs. Match 12 winner

Match 15-Match 13 loser vs. Match 14 winner

Match 16-Match 13 winner vs. Match 15 winner

Match 17-Match 13 winner vs. Match 15 winner, if Match 13 winner loses Match 16

Class AA Volleyball

Final divisional standings

Gold Division

Christian Academy In Japan 3-0

Kubasaki, Okinawa 2-1

American School In Japan 1-2

George Washington, Guam 0-3

Wednesday

Christian Academy In Japan def. George Washington 25-21, 25-14

Set assists-GW, Juniko Deleon 13.

Christian Academy In Japan def. American School In Japan 25-19, 25-15

Spike kills-CAJ, Kelsey Masuda 12, Kelsey Hardeman 6, Nanae Ohki 5.

Kubasaki def. George Washington 25-23, 26-24

Set assists-Kubasaki, Raelene Tajalle 40. Spike kills-Kubasaki, Brittany Fultz 9; GW, Colleen Cruz 11 in 24 attempts. Block points-GW, Sherla Delfin 4. Defensive digs-Kubasaki, Brittany Fultz 8, Alex Fernandez 7, Rina Ihu 7.

Silver Division

John F. Kennedy, Guam 3-0

Academy of Our Lady of Guam 2-1

Seoul American 1-2

Seisen International, Tokyo 0-3

Wednesday

Seoul American def. Seisen International 25-7, 29-27

Spike kills-Seoul, Margaret Nurse 12 in 25 attempts. Block points-Seoul, Margaret Nurse 3. Set assists-Seoul, Kim Lee 7, Whitney Grandy 5. Defensive digs-Seoul, Whitney Grandy 8.

John F. Kennedy def. Seoul American 25-23, 25-18

Spike kills-JFK, Hilary Blas 6 in 12 attempts, Charmaine Garcia 5 in 10 attempts; Seoul, Margaret Nurse 8 in 20 attempts. Block points-JFK, Charmaine Garcia 5. Set assists-JFK, Catherine Aguinda 24; Seoul, Kim Lee 6, Whitney Grandy 5. Defensive digs-JFK, Jeanel Basabe 20, Hilary Blas 7; Seoul, Kim Lee 7.

Academy of Our Lady of Guam def. Seisen International 25-20, 21-25, 15-10

Spike kills-Academy, Cassandra McFadden 13 in 29 attempts, Estella Blas 7 in 16 attempts, Lenora Mantanane 5 in 16 attempts; Seisen, Reiko Okada 5 in 25 attempts. Block points-Academy, Cassandra McFadden 5. Set assists-Academy, Genevieve Ilao 30. Defensive digs-Academy, Estella Blas 10, Lenora Mantanane 9, Genevieve Ilao 6.

Bronze Division

Southern, Guam 2-1

Zama American, Japan 2-1

Nile C. Kinnick, Japan 1-2

Kadena, Okinawa 1-2

Wednesday

Zama American def. Kadena 25-22, 25-20

Set assists-Kadena, Samantha Fox 5. Defensive digs-Kadena, Helen Schrock 5.

Zama American def. Nile C. Kinnick 25-15, 25-22

Spike kills-Kinnick, Frances Zukowski 5, Erica Niemeyer 5. Block points-Zama, Emily Hunter-Chester 8.

Southern def. Kadena 25-23, 20-25, 15-11

Copper Division

Simon Sanchez, Guam 3-0

Yokota, Japan 2-1

Hong Kong International 1-2

Guam High 0-3

Wednesday

Simon Sanchez def. Guam High 25-14, 25-6

Spike kills-Simon Sanchez, Monica Malig 7 in 10 attempts, Michiko Osada 5 in 7 attempts. Service aces-Simon Sanchez, Franchesca Leon Guerrero 5. Set assists-Simon Sanchez, Franchesca Leon Guerrero 18.

Simon Sanchez def. Hong Kong International 25-12, 25-12

Yokota def. Guam High 25-21, 25-14

Spike kills-Yokota, Allora Bellanger 6 in 11 attempts, Shiori Kaneko 5 in 10 attempts; Guam High, Kendra Byrd 5 in 8 attempts. Set assists-Guam High, Kamille Pizarro 7. Defensive digs-Yokota, Shiori Kaneko 10.

Single-elimination playoffs

Thursday's matches

First round

Match 1-Christian Academy In Japan vs. Guam High

Match 2-Seisen International, Tokyo, vs. Southern, Guam

Match 3-John F. Kennedy, Guam, vs. Kadena, Okinawa

Match 4-George Washington, Guam, vs. Simon Sanchez, Guam

Match 5-American School In Japan vs. Yokota, Japan

Match 6-Academy of Our Lady of Guam vs. Nile C. Kinnick, Japan

Match 7-Seoul American vs. Zama American, Japan

Match 8-Kubasaki, Okinawa, vs. Hong Kong International

Consolation

Match 9-Match 1 loser vs. Match 2 loser

Match 10-Match 3 loser vs. Match 4 loser

Match 11-Match 5 loser vs. Match 6 loser

Match 12-Match 7 loser vs. Match 8 loser

Friday’s matches

Quarterfinals

Match 13-Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner

Match 14-Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner

Match 15-Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner

Match 16-Match 7 winner vs. Match 8 winner

Consolation

Match 17-Match 9 winner vs. Match 14 loser

Match 18-Match 10 winner vs. Match 13 loser

Match 19-Match 11 winner vs. Match 16 loser

Match 20-Match 12 winner vs. Match 15 loser

Match 21-Match 17 winner vs. Match 18 winner

Match 22-Match 19 winner vs. Match 20 winner

Semifinals

Match 23-Match 13 winner vs. Match 14 winner

Match 24-Match 15 winner vs. Match 16 winner

Saturday’s matches

Seventh and eighth place

Match 25-Match 21 loser vs. Match 22 loser

Fifth and sixth place

Match 26-Match 21 winner vs. Match 22 winner

Third and fourth place

Match 27-Match 23 loser vs. Match 24 loser

Championship and runner-up

Match 28-Match 23 winner vs. Match 24 winner

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