Na Alii top Warriors, earn state berth

King Kekaulike High School’s Nakuluai Morando hits a shot through the block of Kamehameha Maui’s Rafael Adolpho and Hanalai Hoopai-Sylva on Thursday night. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

King Kekaulike High School’s Nakuluai Morando hits a shot through the block of Kamehameha Maui’s Rafael Adolpho and Hanalai Hoopai-Sylva on Thursday night. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

PUKALANI — King Kekaulike High School setter Ian Martins has many weapons to choose from as he runs the attack for the three-time defending Maui Interscholastic League Division I boys volleyball champions.

The senior made all the right moves Thursday.

Martins dished out 34 assists to go with five digs in leading King Kekaulike to a 20-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-23 win over Kamehameha Maui that clinched the regular-season title and a state berth for Na Alii (10-1).

“It’s a lot of fun,” Martins said. “I could go to any one of them at any given time which makes the blockers on the other side work harder. All we have to do is keep it in rhythm, get a pass, get a set and get a good kill.”

Nakuluai Morando led Na Alii with 16 kills, three blocks and 23 digs. Trystin Hooper added 11 kills, two blocks and 16 digs, while middle blocker Joey Sigrah added six kills and five blocks.

King Kekaulike’s Zayden Mokiao attempts a second-set shot against Kamehameha Maui’s Haweo Johnson and Rafael Adolpho on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

King Kekaulike’s Zayden Mokiao attempts a second-set shot against Kamehameha Maui’s Haweo Johnson and Rafael Adolpho on Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Na Alii’s victory avenged a four-set loss to Kamehameha Maui (9-3) last week.

“We know exactly what it was, they started serving tough,” King Kekaulike coach Al Paschoal said. “They served tough the whole match, but they juiced it up a little bit and our passing broke down. That’s something we’ve been working on. They beat us last time on a 5-0 run and a 6-0 run and that’s something we definitely have got to be able to control the ball a little bit better and not allow someone to go on that type of run.

“We’re very happy, we came back very strong today.”

Nailing down the state berth was imperative, Paschoal said, as the league heads into its tournament next week.

“We’re still tired, we get everybody’s best game, it’s a battle every single time we’re on the court,” Paschoal said. “No doubt, for sure, we are very excited that we locked down that state berth.”

Kamehameha Maui’s Austin Peters digs a second-set shot Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Kamehameha Maui’s Austin Peters digs a second-set shot Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Morando tied the final set at 14-14 and 16-16 with crosscourt kills. Sigrah and Morando combined on a block to close out the match.

The Warriors rallied from a 19-15 deficit in the first set with a 10-1 run that was capped by back-to-back aces by Tyson Haupu.

Na Alii broke away from a 7-7 tie in the second set — a Reilley Marrs kill made it 10-7, a solo block by Sigrah pushed the lead to 19-12, a Hooper kill set up set point and a Kamehameha error ended it.

In the third set, both teams went on runs, with Keo Chun capping a 4-1 Warriors streak that tied it at 16-16 on a kill off an overpass.

Na Alii got to set point on a kill by Hooper and ended it on a dink by Martins.

The Warriors are seeking their first state berth since 2009. Austin Peters had 22 assists and 11 digs, while Haweo Johnson had eight kills and Keahi Jacintho had seven kills and 12 assists.

“Every time out, it’s a battle,” Kamehameha coach Robert Brede said. “It’s all about passing. We won the first game because they had bad passing. The last three we were passing well, but we were limiting our options. It just came down to our passing.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

– W L Pct GB

x-King Kekaulike 10 1 .900 —

KS Maui 9 3 .750 1 1⁄2

Lahainaluna 5 6 .455 5

Baldwin 2 9 .182 8

Maui High 2 9 .182 8

DIVISION II

– W L Pct GB

x-Molokai 9 1 .900 —

Seabury Hall 7 3 .700 2

Hana 4 6 .400 5

Lanai 0 10 .000 9

x-clinched regular-season title

Thursday’s Result

King Kekaulike def. Kamehameha Maui 20-25, 25-13, 25-21, 25-23

Today’s Matches

Seabury Hall at Hana, 6 p.m.

Maui High at Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.

Molokai at Lanai, 7 p.m.

Saturday’s Matches

Seabury Hall at Hana, 11 a.m.

Molokai at Lanai, 1 p.m.

King Kekaulike at Baldwin, 6 p.m.

End of regular season

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