Seabury Hall outlasts Baldwin
OLINDA – It was just the second match of the Maui Interscholastic League season for both teams, but Seabury Hall’s five-set win over Baldwin in boys volleyball action Tuesday night felt like it had a lot more riding on it.
The Spartans outlasted the Bears 21-25, 30-28, 22-25, 25-20, 15-12 in a match that took more than two hours to complete in front of about 300 fans at the Erdman Athletic Center. The battle of last season’s MIL division champions lived up to its billing.
“It was really fun,” Seabury Hall middle blocker Makena Jost said after he collected 12 kills and three blocks. “I went in thinking it was going to be fun, but I didn’t know who was going to win.”
The outcome was in doubt until Blake Rizzo smacked home two of his resounding kills in a final three-point run for the Spartans (2-0). Rizzo finished with 22 kills, four blocks and four aces. Seabury setter Nyck Yashiro dished out 38 assists.
“We knew middle play would be big because they were good at getting through our block,” Jost said. “I would have to say me and Blake worked well.”
The Division I Bears (1-1) had an impressive set of frontliners themselves, led by senior outside hitter Ryan Garces, who had 19 kills. Niko Corpin had 11 kills, Afoa Laga added 10 and middle blocker Trent Helle was a force at the net with 11 kills and four blocks. Sophomore setter Leafu Satele finished with 42 assists.
“The MIL is getting much better,” Jost said. “I mean, that just makes it funner.”
Listening to the coaches, the back-and-forth match took more of a toll on them.
“That was some good volleyball, good challenges,” Seabury Hall coach Caleb Palmer said. “We saw some things we need to work on. Baldwin is a really good team, well-coached, a lot of great athletes, so we know we have got some work to do.”
When asked what his team needs to work on, Palmer smiled.
“I don’t know if you have that many words, that many lines for your article,” he said. “We need to work on everything, I mean everything.”
After dropping the first set, Seabury Hall evened things with a Rizzo kill that ended the second set.
The Division II Spartans took a 7-3 lead in the third set before the Bears took a 13-11 lead on a four-point spurt that featured alternating points by Garces and Helle. A kill by Laga capped an 8-0 run that gave Baldwin a 17-11 lead.
Seabury closed within 22-19 on a kill by Jost, but Helle later closed out the game with a kill off a quick set.
The fourth set was tied eight times, the last at 10-10 before Cameron King gave Seabury an 11-10 lead and Rizzo put down three of the next four points as the home team took a 15-11 lead.
Another Rizzo kill gave the Spartans game point and a Bears miscue sent the match to a fifth set.
“Not bad, not bad,” Baldwin coach Kalei Houpo said of the match. “There’s still some things we have got to work on in the middle of the match. We gave up a lot of points, even when we were up.”
Houpo liked what he saw from Helle in the middle.
“We have got to run the middle a lot more,” he said. “That will open up the outsides, get us one-on-ones outside.”
In the end, Palmer was just happy to go home with the win.
“We need to be a better passing team, we need to be better defensively at the net, middles not getting there,” he said. “But when it was on the line, we found a way.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org