Seabury earns league crown

KAHULUI – The Seabury Hall boys volleyball team is right back where it always seems to be, although the path wasn’t easy.

Max DeLyon had 16 kills, 25 assists and five blocks and Blake Rizzo added 12 kills and five blocks as the Spartans defeated Molokai 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 31-29 for the Maui Interscholastic League Division II overall title on Saturday at Maui High’s gym.

“I’m glad we were able to pull together after kind of a tough start,” said Seabury coach Caleb Palmer. “We played as a team and when it got tough and we were giving points away or they were taking points, we found a way to play together and win.”

The Spartans (11-2), who finished first in the regular season, will make their eighth straight trip to the state tournament – the Division II event, which has just one MIL representative, is scheduled for Thursday to Saturday on Oahu. Seabury has appeared in the last three state D-II tournament finals, winning in 2010.

“It’s definitely a blessing,” Rizzo said. “This is my third year going to states. I just hope we can find the same fire we did today and bring it to all our matches at states.”

Molokai swept Seabury in an MIL tournament semifinal match Thursday, then beat Lanai in the tournament final Friday.

“I won’t use tired as an excuse,” said Farmers coach Hale Domingo. “We pushed them every week in practice. I can’t say nothing more because they put their hearts on the line and came up a little short.”

The Spartans served for the match six times, while the Farmers (5-9) twice served to force a fifth set. After a kill by Paka Adolpho gave Molokai a 29-28 advantage. DeLyon’s kill tied the score. Ryan Noufer then had an ace, and Rizzo’s kill ended it.

“It was a lot of fun,” DeLyon said of the fourth set. “That was, like, the most intense game I’ve ever been in. It’s really nice to have a lot of competition in the MIL this year. The teams are really good and challenge us a lot.”

DeLyon had six kills, seven assists and a block in the final set.

“Max is a four-year starter and a four-year MIL champ,” Palmer said. “He’s pretty much irreplaceable as far as getting the guys together and helping them understand what we need to do, and he also makes plays when we need to make plays.”

In the second set, Palmer called a timeout with Seabury trailing 8-7, and brought his team outside of the gym for a quick chat.

“They just needed to understand the position we were in and what we needed to do,” Palmer said. “I think we lacked a little focus, so we had our meeting and they understood where we were and what they needed to do.”

The Spartans used a 7-2 run to take a 22-18 lead in the set, and though the Farmers got within 23-22, a kill by DeLyon and a hitting error evened the match.

“We had a different mindset,” Rizzo said. “Basically we talked about not fighting each other, fight for each other. It definitely showed. We had a different attitude coming back on the court and we came back and won the last three.”

The third set was tied 23-23 before kills by Justin Ringsby and Nyck Yashiro.

Yashiro finished with 18 assists and four aces for Seabury, which is down to only eight players because of injuries.

“It’s really amazing,” Yashiro said. “All the teamwork we put in together and all the hard work we’ve done throughout the year, finally being able to show it.”

Oli Falealli had 35 assists and eight kills for Molokai, Dhavin Spencer-Basa had 21 kills and Roycee Calairo had 13 kills and 15 assists.

“Oli is my rock,” Domingo said. “Whatever you tell him to do, he’ll do it. He’s basically the heart of the team.

“I’m so proud of these guys. Mostly everybody counted us out with a 3-8 record (in the regular season).”

* Kyle Sakamoto is at