Spartans maintain unbeaten mark with victory over Dragons
OLINDA -In a match of momentum swings, the Seabury Hall girls volleyball team was able to come through and stay undefeated.
Kiki Leuteneker had 15 kills and Gabby Ratte had 25 assists and eight kills as Seabury defeated Hana 25-18, 25-17, 25-27, 25-17 on Saturday in a Maui Interscholastic League Division II showdown at Erdman Athletic Center.
The Spartans improved to 8-0, while the Dragons fell to 7-2.
“Nothing is ever safe,” said Seabury coach Scottie Zucco. “You always want to work your tail off regardless if you have a two-game lead. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Ratte shared setting duties with Savy Janssen, who had 13 assists.
“I feel like our defense and passers were doing really well,” Ratte said.
Leuteneker, who is 6-foot-1, had a height advantage against Hana, but acknowledged getting kills wasn’t always easy.
“Their block is pretty good even though they’re shorter,” she said.
The Spartans’ Amy Ozee had five of her nine kills in the fourth, Shayla Hoeft finished with six blocks and Sophie Janssen had five aces.
Seabury scored the first eight points of the match, with Sophie Janssen getting two aces. The Dragons tied it at 13-13 before the Spartans seized control. Leuteneker had four kills during a 12-5 run that ended the set.
The second set had 12 ties and seven lead changes. The Spartans went on a 6-0 run with Makena Janssen serving for a 23-15 advantage.
Hana scored four in row to tie the third set at 20-20, and served for the set at 24-23, but a kill by Sophie Janssen tied the score. An ace by Ratte gave the Spartans match point, but a pair of hitting errors and a misset gave the set to the Dragons.
Seabury took a 15-5 lead in the fourth set, a run that included a 5-0 rally with Sophie Janssen serving.
“She’s an incredibly accurate server,” Zucco said. “She’s one of those girls, we can throw a quarter on the other side (of the net) and she’d be able to hit it. Great control. She can put it in spots and it’s difficult to pass.”
Hana responded by scoring the next eight points, including two Shalen-Brae Hoopai aces.
“I just tell them in order to win we need to be together. That’s all I said,” said Dragons coach Louis Hoopai
Hana got as close as one point on two occasions before the Spartans’ match-ending 7-0 run. Phoebe Fickbolm, who played sparingly during the first three sets, was serving during the final surge.
“Phoebe Fickbolm is an example. There’s always several kids on the bench willing to come in and contribute, and not only willing but capable,” Zucco said. “She gave us some great serving and defense.”
Zucco also credited Pilotin for helping his team pull out the match.
“Emma Pilotin, our libero, in Game 4 she was making a lot of ‘creates’ for our offense to get attacks,” he said.
Hana’s Jaynalee Hoopai finished with 15 kills, including six in the fourth set, and Precious Helekahi had 26 assists.
“She’s placing her balls better,” Louis Hoopai said of Jaynalee Hoopai. “I was telling her to work around the blockers and see the open court. She wasn’t really pounding them, she was more like placing.”
As far as allowing big runs by the Dragons, Ratte said: “We’ve been working really hard on our serve receive. When we were down, that’s what was getting us. We couldn’t pass the ball, but we came together.”
Louis Hoopai said he liked his team’s effort.
“Defense-wise I was happy. Offense-wise, they have some trees over there,” he said. “We put up a good fight, I think.”
* Kyle Sakamoto is at email@example.com