OLINDA - After splitting their regular-season matches, with each team winning at the away venue,
the Seabury Hall and Hana girls volleyball teams expected a battle at the Erdman Athletic Center on Mon-day night.
That didn't happen - the Spartans nailed down a state-tournament berth with a 25-14, 25-16, 25-17 playoff victory that gave them the Maui Interscholastic League Division II regular-season title. It took just 70 minutes and left both teams somewhat surprised.
Seabury Hall’s Regal Deen-Jackson meets Hana’s Rachel Lee Scott at the net during the final set of the Spartans’ 25-14, 25-16, 25-17 win over the Dragons in Monday’s playoff for the Maui Interscholastic League Division II regular-season championship at the Erdman Athletic Center.
GLEN PASCUAL photo
"Nothing is ever easy against Hana, ever," Seabury Hall coach Scottie Zucco said after his team improved to 10-1. "I know the girls put in a lot of focus and intention in their warmups. They were really excited to come out and improve off their last game. This is our third match against Hana and we could end up playing them five times."
Sophomore Kiki Leuteneker, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker, helped the Spartans take advantage of their height advantage with seven kills, six blocks and two aces. Regal Deen-Jackson, a 6-1 senior, added nine kills and two blocks, 6-0 freshman Amy Ozee had five kills and
5-9 sophomore Sophie Janssen had five kills.
Monday's Results At Erdman Athletic Center
D-II regular-season championship playoff: Seabury Hall def. Hana 25-14, 25-16, 25-17
D-I tournament first round: Maui High def. Lahainaluna 25-18, 12-25, 25-19, 25-12
Today's Matches At King Kekaulike
D-I tournament semifinal: Kamehameha Maui vs. Maui High, 5 p.m.
D-I tournament semifinal: King Kekaulike vs. Baldwin, 6:30 p.m.
"We figured we were going to learn from each game, and I think we did better than the last time we played them," Zucco said. "It is nice to have a little bit of the pressure taken off our shoulders with the (state) berth, but we are still looking at the tournament as something that can really help us improve."
Neither of the first two sets were close after the Spartans hit double digits. The Dragons (9-2) climbed within 21-17 in the third, but Janssen then had a kill-block-kill run, and Leu-teneker finished the match with an ace.
"I think that we were really focused, we were all pumped up, ready to play the whole time and I think we all contributed a lot, everyone, even the people who were sitting down," Leuteneker said. "I thought they were going to, like, fight back every time, but we were playing good. I think we were playing our best."
The D-II league tournament begins Wednesday. Hana receives a bye to the semifinals, and will play Thursday against the winner of a match between Maui Prep and St. Anthony. In Thursday's other semifinal, Seabury Hall will face the winner of Wednesday's match between Lanai and Molokai.
Pakalana Helekahi had 10 kills and three blocks for the Dragons, Rachel Lee Scott had four kills and two blocks, Precious Helekahi passed out six assists and Shalen-Brae Hoo-pai had seven digs.
Hana's players were all involved in Aloha Week festivities in East Maui that began Saturday, Hana coach Louis Hoopai said.
"We were flat," Hoopai said. "I don't know what happened to us, maybe too much Aloha Week. We have got Aloha Week going on, so I don't know. We have to bounce back for the tournament. I thought we would give Seabury a better game, but I guess not.
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org