Farmers take tournament title
WAILUKU – The Molokai and Lanai high school boys volleyball teams didn’t want to go home, and their match in Friday’s Maui Interscholastic League Division II tournament final reflected it.
The Farmers outlasted the Pine Lads in a gripping 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23 victory at the Baldwin gym that set up an overall championship match with Seabury Hall today.
“It was awesome, I can’t say anything else,” said Molokai coach Hale Domingo. “Both teams are tough. I give hats off to Lanai, they are awesome. They are coached by awesome coaches and it was an awesome game.”
The only MIL berth to the D-II state tournament will be on the line when the Farmers and Spartans meet at noon at the Maui High gym.
“I was talking to (Lanai’s) Joshua Belista about both teams playing Seabury for the championship,” said Molokai senior Dhavin Spencer-Basa. “I told him, ‘It’s time for the country boys to win. Let’s bang heads again, let’s go.’ “
The first set had six ties, the final one at 19-19. A resounding kill by Paka Adolpho gave the Farmers (5-8) a 23-20 lead, and a solo block by Adolpho ended it.
The Pine Lads (5-8) bounced back in the second set – which had five ties, the final time at 16-16. A kill by Von Eric Etrata evened the match.
The Farmers pulled away from a 15-15 tie in the third set with a 9-2 run, closed by an ace from Oli Falealii. One of Spencer-Basa’s 15 kills on the night ended the set.
The Pine Lads took a 7-4 lead in the fourth on an ace by Belista, but the Farmers caught them at 9-9 on one of Adolpho’s 12 kills, and went up 15-12 before Lanai bounced back, going in front 20-18 on a kill by Belista. Spencer-Basa tied the set at 20-20 on a dink, and then pounded home a kill.
The Pine Lads tied the set three more times before Falealii put down a booming kill to give the Farmers match point, which Adolpho converted after a trio of spectacular digs by Lanai.
Roycee Calairo, Falealii, Spencer-Basa and Adolpho are the Farmers’ 12th-graders.
“They are my seniors, they know what I expect from them,” Domingo said. “Everything we put in at practice and how they bring it to the court. Words cannot express how I feel for my seniors.”
The Farmers fielded a full squad for the first time this year during the MIL tournament.
“It was a rough season, no coach expects to have nine losses and three wins or whatever it was, but dealing with kids’ grades and disciplinary acts and stuff like that,” Domingo said. “They have surprised me and I can’t express more than they are a team, finally. There’s one more game and that is what they are looking for.”
Spencer-Basa anticipates that the Spartans, who have been in the last three state D-II finals with a win in 2010, will come out firing today. Molokai swept Seabury in the league semifinals on Thursday.
“I’m totally expecting them to try to change up, but every time they try to change up we will keep readjusting,” Spencer-Basa said. “We finally have a full squad and I’m so excited I can’t even speak right now. We finally have a full team, we finally get to win some games. The feeling is awesome right now.”
Lanai was led by 11 kills apiece from Belista and Jayvee Llamelo. Belista added 16 assists, while Hutch Reymundo had seven kills and 24 assists.
“Two teams played great tonight and I didn’t expect anything less from both teams,” said Pine Lads coach Zachary Holsomback. “It was just a great volleyball match all around.”
Lanai rallied from a two-set deficit to eliminate second-seeded Hana on Thursday.
“They really, really showed that they wanted to get this far,” said Holsomback, who foresees another thriller today.
“You know, this is the strongest Molokai has been all year, but Seabury is no push-over either,” Holsomback said. “Both teams will compete real hard. I wish we could stay to watch the game.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org