Na Alii sweep Bears for third straight win
Cowell returns as King Kekaulike improves to 4-1
PUKALANI — Chandler Cowell did not start for the King Kekaulike High School girls volleyball team on Thursday — but to her delight, she finished.
The senior outside hitter saw her first action in four matches and provided a clear emotional lift for her team in a 25-19, 25-9, 25-21 sweep of Baldwin at the King Kekaulike Gym.
Cowell had a slight tear in her rotator cuff and was under doctor’s orders not to swing too hard in Thursday’s match. She finished with three kills, two blocks and six digs as Na Alii won a third consecutive match, improving to 4-1.
“I felt pretty good. I didn’t really put a lot of power because I’m not supposed to,” said Cowell, a returning Maui Interscholastic League All-Star who plans to sign a volleyball scholarship with St. Mary’s College in November. “What my coach told me to do was tip, find the holes and be fluid with my arm, so that’s what I did. I needed to warm it up.”
King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love missed the match with a slight knee sprain. Na Alii’s Kalena Vaivai, last season’s MIL Division I Player of the Year, is about a week away from getting a cast off of her broken right foot.
Na Alii coach Al Paschoal told Cowell between the first and second sets that she was going to go from back-row duty to all over the court.
“I wasn’t prepared at all, but I trust my coach,” Cowell said. “I know that his decisions are good, so when he told me I was, like, ‘All right Chandler, let’s do some work, let’s get some swings going.’ My first swings in three months, so it felt good. No pain — I’m very, very happy about that.”
Back-to-back blocks by Annika Stammberger gave Na Alii an 11-9 lead in the first set. An ace by Cowell made it 16-12 and an ace by Nanna Inouye put King Kekaulike up 22-14. Kiana Correa’s ace finished off the set.
Baldwin (0-5) led 3-1 in the second set before Inouye ran off eight straight service points in a 9-0 run for King Kekaulike. Cowell’s block made it 14-6 and a block by Daniella Wittenberg pushed the lead to 16-7. A block by Cymbree Trent ended the set.
Cowell’s kill put Na Alii in front 8-5 in the third set, and her block gave them a 12-9 lead. An error by the Bears made it 15-10, and they would not get closer than two the rest of the match.
“It’s nice to have her presence back on the court,” Paschoal said of Cowell. “We’re going to take her along slowly. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Nina Macphetridge finished with 15 kills and three blocks for Na Alii, Shaina Rapanot-Uyechi had four aces, three kills and seven digs and Correa had two aces and eight digs.
“They are tough, but I know this is still not their real team,” Baldwin coach Helaman Aiwohi said.
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com.
W L Pct GB
Kamehameha Maui 4 0 1.000 —
King Kekaulike 4 1 .800 1⁄2
Lahainaluna 3 2 .600 1 1⁄2
Maui High 1 4 .200 3 1⁄2
Baldwin 0 5 .000 4 1⁄2
W L Pct GB
Molokai 4 0 1.000 —
Seabury Hall 3 0 1.000 1⁄2
Maui Prep 2 0 1.000 1
St. Anthony 1 4 .200 3 1⁄2
Hana 0 1 .000 2 1⁄2
Lanai 0 1 .000 2 1⁄2
Haleakala Waldorf 0 4 .000 4
Lahainaluna def. Maui High 25-17, 25-12, 25-16
King Kekaulike def. Baldwin 25-19, 25-9, 25-21
Maui Prep vs. Haleakala Waldorf at Paia Gym, 6 p.m.
Molokai at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.
St. Anthony at Hana, 6 p.m.
Molokai at Seabury Hall, 2 p.m.
Maui High at Baldwin, 6 p.m.
King Kekaulike at Kamehameha Maui, 6 p.m.