Na Alii garner state spot with five-set victory

LAHAINA – The book on the King Kekaulike High School girls volleyball team’s 2013 season will have to include five chapters with Maui High as the opponent.

Na Alii took the decisive match of what turned out to be a best-of-five series against the Sabers with a 25-21, 17-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-12 victory Saturday at the Lahainaluna gym in a playoff for the Maui Interscholastic League’s second spot to the Division I state tournament.

It was the second five-set win for King Kekaulike (10-5) over Maui High (8-6) in the last five days.

“They definitely made us work for it,” said Na Alii’s Kalia Aguera, who finished with 37 assists. “We both had to hustle for every ball and make every play and think about every play. We both worked so hard and I’m glad we made it in those last five points.”

Dasya Tavares gave Na Alii a 13-12 lead in the fifth set before Treyanna Freitas’ ace set up two match points. A net violation by the Sabers ended the match in just under two hours.

The state tournament begins Oct. 29 on the Big Island. King Kekaulike is going for the third time in four seasons, along with Kamehameha Maui, which has won the last 10 MIL titles.

“I’m ready for the state tournament, the whole MIL season has been just one part, now we have a whole new, separate tournament,” Aguera said. “It is going to be much more intense and we are going to have to work much more for it.”

Freitas had 18 kills and 22 digs, and finished with 45 kills and 58 digs in three MIL postseason matches.

“When she’s on fire she can put that ball away no matter what, but it is always strategic when we have to get our other hitters into the game, too,” Aguera said. “Everyone else did great, like Dasya – she was firing in the middle. Angel (Vallejo), too.”

Vallejo had seven kills, Kawehi Mahoney had six and Tavares added five. Sirinya Yothowong had 13 digs.

“Man, that was everything, including the kitchen sink, on that one,” said veteran coach Al Paschoal, in his first season with Na Alii. “What a fantastic story between Kekaulike and Maui High this year – you couldn’t ask for anything more, 15-12 in the fifth set of the fifth match. Wow. I thought if we didn’t play a match like this then something would have been wrong. For one of our teams to go to state, it had to go down like this.”

Maui High was bidding for its first state berth since 2006.

“The end, but it has been a story, hasn’t it?” said Sabers coach Lena Quilantang. “We were there, but like I said the experience gets us at the end, but you know what? We are one step closer.”

* Robert Collias is at