Baldwin earns sweep of short-handed Hana
WAILUKU – The difference between the Baldwin and Hana high school boys volleyball teams wasn’t much Friday night at the Bears’ gym.
Baldwin emerged from three close sets for a 25-22, 26-24, 25-23 sweep, but the Bears had all of their players available.
Both teams have two starters suffering from injuries, although the Dragons were missing their two players while the Bears got important contributions from Ryan Garces and Afoa Laga.
Baldwin improved to 3-1, best in Division I of the Maui Interscholastic League. Hana finished its official matches against D-I teams at 2-3.
“A win is a win,” said Bears coach Kalei Houpo. “I would have liked to pull it off another way, with us being strong all the way through, but we have a habit of losing valuable points. Not to take anything away from Hana, they did a really good job for being seven players deep with two starters injured.”
Garces is still not fully recovered from a broken leg suffered during the football season, but he smacked a match-high 17 kills Friday to go along with two blocks and an ace.
“It is ridiculous what he is doing with that leg still not 100 percent,” Houpo said.
Laga had a pair of kills and an ace despite a sore shoulder. Niko Corpin had eight kills, and Kyson Kaiama had 35 assists.
“We have a well-rounded team, so I get to distribute the ball to anybody,” Kaiama said. “I have faith in them to put it down.”
Hana went on a 7-1 run in the second set, capped by a solo block by Shaka Kalalau, for a 20-18 lead. A dink by Noah Hoopai-Feliciano put the Dragons in front 22-20 before the Bears scored four unanswered points. An ace by Coren Yamauchi ended the set.
In the third set, a Garces kill, a combined block by Garces and Bradley Bowlin and then a solo block by Bowlin gave the Bears a 13-10 edge, and they led by at least two the rest of the way.
“We got back on track and finished it,” said Kaiama, who is growing into the setting role after two seasons as a libero. “I setted freshman year, so I have a little history, but whatever the team needs me to be, I will be there.”
Hana coach Manuel Oliveira said the Bears were too much as the Dragons were without setter Hunter Perry and Kamanu Lind. The team from the 78-student school has no seniors on the roster and was led by nine kills from Makena Keiley.
“When you have that many errors as we did, this is what you get,” Oliveira said. “It was too much. We’re hurting with injuries right now. Kamanu is out for the season and we really need Hunter back to set. Baldwin is a good team and they were too much for us tonight.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com