Seabury hands Hana first loss
OLINDA – The Seabury Hall boys volleyball team has been in the last five state tournament final fours, a stretch that includes three appearances in the championship match and a title in 2010.
The defending Maui Interscholastic League Division II champions showed they were not going to surrender their crown quietly on Friday night.
Seabury forced a winner-take-all playoff match against Hana with a 25-19, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22 win over the previously unbeaten Dragons at Erdman Athletic Center in the MIL tournament final.
The Spartans (8-5) and the Dragons (12-1) will meet again today at Erdman – the winner heads to the state tournament next week; the loser’s season is done.
It was senior night for all of Seabury’s spring sports, but the crowd was about 75 percent pro-Hana in a packed-to-capacity gym.
“They are more than good, they are great,” Spartans coach Caleb Palmer said of the Dragons. “All we have done is earn the right to play them tomorrow. I’m sure tomorrow will be more great volleyball. If we are fortunate to come out on top, great. If not, they are a really good team. You are going to have to beat them because they are the champs.”
The Dragons have been on an emotional ride after starting outside hitter Isaiah Pu-Akima died in a vehicle accident in Keanae on April 24. They swept to wins in their last two matches after the crash, including a victory over the Spartans on Hana’s senior night. Earlier this season, Hana beat Seabury in four sets in Olinda.
“Seabury played real well and we were out of our game,” said Dragons coach Manuel Oliveira. “All the emotions compiled together, you know. Hopefully tomorrow we will be ready, on our game.”
Blake Rizzo finished with 25 kills and three blocks for the Spartans. Makena Jost had 12 kills and four blocks, Justin Ringsby had eight kills, Nyck Yashiro dished out 48 assists and Kyle Stisher had 15 digs.
Rizzo wore a knee brace and came out of the match when he rotated to the back.
“It’s just a little sore, I honestly don’t know what is wrong,” Rizzo said. “It’s nothing I can’t handle.”
Seabury came out hot early, taking a 15-9 lead in the first set behind numerous quick sets to Rizzo.
“Those quick sets, that’s all Nyck, man,” said Rizzo, a 6-foot-5 outside hitter. “I can’t thank Nyck enough, he was on point tonight. It also had a lot to do with our passing, we really stepped it up in the back row. I just can’t thank my team enough.”
The Dragons got their bearings in the second set, jumping out to a 16-8 lead. A kill by Jordan Redo-Rost evened the match.
Hana fought off five set points in the third set before Jost finally ended it with a kill down the middle of the court.
A kill by Hunter Perry and another by Redo-Rost gave the Dragons a 20-16 lead in the fourth set, but two Hana errors, a kill by Jost and another by Ringsby tied it at 20-20. The score was also tied at 21 and 22 before three straight Rizzo kills ended the night.
Redo-Rost had 25 assists and 11 kills, Perry added 14 kills and 17 assists and Noah Hoopai-Feliciano had 10 kills, three blocks and two aces.
“They are a great team this year,” Rizzo said of the Dragons. “They have always been a great team, but this year they just outlast everybody else. We finally figured that out and we kept it together.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org