Warriors top Na Alii in 4

First of three meetings between Upcountry, league rivals goes to Kamehameha Maui

Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Kimani Fernandez-Roy goes up for a third-set kill during the Warriors’ 20-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22 victory over King Kekaulike on Tuesday night at Na Alii’s gym. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

PUKALANI — The opening set of the season’s first meeting between Upcountry rivals didn’t go well for the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team.

The rest of the match did, however, as the Warriors defeated three-time defending Maui Interscholastic League Division I champion King Kekaulike 20-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22 at the King Kekaulike Gym on Tuesday night.

“We knew after the first set that we could, like, physically one-on-one we could compare with them if we got our minds mentally into the game,” Kamehameha Maui senior middle blocker Kimani Fernandez-Roy said. “I think after that first set we realized that, ‘Yes, we can do this,’ so we just had to be prepared mentally. That’s kind of what we did in that second set to bring things up on our side.”

The result leaves the Warriors — league runners-up to Na Alii in each of the last three seasons — at 2-0. King Kekaulike fell to 1-1.

After the first set was close throughout, Kamehameha Maui dominated the second, bounding out to 8-1, 13-5 and 21-9 leads before finishing it off with a kill by Logan Spencer.

King Kekaulike’s Nina Macphetridge attempts a shot against the block of Kamehameha Maui’s Logan Spencer in the second set Tuesday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The third set was tied at 16-16 after an ace by King Kekaulike’s Shaina Rapanot-Uyechi. An ace by Talia Leauanae capped a 7-1 run by the Warriors, and Leauanae’s kill closed out the set four points later.

In the fourth set, an ace by Rapanot-Uyechi gave Na Alii a 22-21 lead, but the Warriors finished the match on a 4-0 run, including a quick-set kill by Fernandez-Roy that gave them match point.

Roy is an MIL All-Star basketball player who has only been playing organized volleyball since entering high school. She had eight kills on Tuesday.

“I definitely feel like I’m getting better, I have a great teaching squad, my parents help me get better every day, supporting me,” Fernandez-Roy said. “My coaches have just been amazing, so, yeah, I do feel like I’m getting better every day.”

Alea Cervantes had nine kills and three aces for Kamehameha. Leauanae finished with 10 kills and Aliyah Ayau added six digs.

Na Alii’s Brooklynne Albrecht directs second-set kill down the line past the Warriors’ Talia Leauanae. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“We needed a little warm-up set to test the waters and to have our backs pressed up against the wall,” Kamehameha Maui coach Alex Akana said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction from my girls.”

King Kekaulike’s Chandler Cowell, an MIL All-Star who has verbally committed to St. Mary’s College in California, missed the match with an injured shoulder. Junior setter Kalena Vaivai, last season’s MIL Division I Player of the Year, is out for eight weeks with a broken foot. Coach Al Paschoal said Lyric Love was a game-time decision with a slight injury, but she played.

Both Fernandez-Roy and Akana expect to see King Kekaulike come back strong — the teams meet twice more in the regular season, with the next showdown set for Sept. 14 at Kamehameha.

“To look like that and be down two of their really good players, missing their best players, it’s amazing,” Akana said. “We only expect them to come out harder at us the next time.”

Paschoal said his team is growing as their All-Stars heal. Nina Macphetridge had 22 kills, Rapanot-Uyechi had two aces and 18 digs, and Brooklynne Albrecht had seven kills.

“They are pretty important, no doubt about that,” Paschoal said of Cowell and Vaivai. “The girls really rallied.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct GB

Kamehameha Maui 2 0 1.000 —

Lahainaluna 2 0 1.000 —

King Kekaulike 1 1 .500 1

Maui High 1 2 .333 1 1⁄2

Baldwin 0 3 .000 2 1⁄2

DIVISION II

W L Pct GB

Molokai 2 0 1.000 —

Seabury Hall 2 0 1.000 —

Maui Prep 1 0 1.000 1⁄2

Lanai 0 0 .000 1

St. Anthony 1 2 .333 1 1⁄2

Hana 0 1 .000 1 1⁄2

Haleakala Waldorf 0 3 .000 2 1⁄2

Tuesday’s Results

Maui High def. Baldwin 25-18, 31-29, 22-25, 12-25, 15-12

Kamehameha Maui def. King Kekaulike 20-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22

Seabury Hall def. St. Anthony 25-15, 25-11, 25-5

Thursday’s Matches

Kamehameha Maui at Baldwin, 6 p.m.

King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.

Friday’s Matches

Haleakala Waldorf at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.

Molokai at Lanai, 7 p.m.

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