Warriors rally past Na Alii

Rapanot-Uyechi leaves with injury

Kimani Fernandez-Roy of Kamehameha Schools Maui tries to get a shot past King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love (left) and Brooklynne Albrecht during the second set of the Warriors’ 23-25, 19-25, 25-14, 27-25, 15-8 win over Na Alii on Thursday at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

PUKALANI — Talia Leauanae wasn’t about to let her Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team walk away quietly Thursday night.

Leauanae smacked a match-high 26 kills, leading the Warriors to a 23-25, 19-25, 25-14, 27-25, 15-8 win over King Kekaulike at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym.

The Warriors fought off two match points in the fourth set in staying unbeaten this year in the Maui Interscholastic League.

“I’m honestly really proud of my team, we were kind of giving up the third set,” Leauanae said. “I was pushing them, like, ‘No, it’s not over, it’s not over.’ I’m just so proud that we did it.”

The Warriors (6-0) now hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against Na Alii (4-2), who lost another top player to injury when Shaina Rapanot-Uyechi left in the fourth set.

The Warriors’ Talia Leauanae defends at the net against Na Alii’s Shaina Rapanot-Uyechi (right) and Cymbree Trent during the second set. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Rapanot-Uyechi, the team captain and an MIL first-team All-Star last year, had to be helped from the floor with Na Alii leading 14-12 in the fourth set before returning to watch the remainder of the match in a wheelchair after an apparent knee injury. Rapanot-Uyechi transferred from Kamehameha to King Kekaulike prior to last season.

“You know, Shaina is my vote for Player of the Year,” Na Alii coach Al Pas­choal said. “She meant so much for the team and when that happens it’s just heartbreaking. It’s tough because she came from Kamehameha and she really wanted to help us get this win. We were playing a good brand of ball when she went down, unfortunately.”

Rapanot-Uyechi, who has verbally committed to accept a volleyball scholarship from the Air Force Academy, had moved from her regular libero spot to take over at setter for Kalena Vaivai — the reigning MIL Player of the Year was on the bench with a walking boot on her broken right foot. Paschoal said he was not sure of a timetable for the return of either player.

“It’s so sad, so unfortunate, but it’s something that happens in athletics,” Kamehameha coach Alex Akana said. “I feel sad for Kekaulike because I feel like they’ve been in that boat all season.” 

Na Alii led 24-22 in the fourth set after Chandler Cowell slammed home a kill. A service error, followed by an ace by the Warriors’ Aliah Ayau, tied the set at 24-24. A kill by Leauanae gave Kamehameha a 26-25 lead and Alea Cervantes’ kill sent the match to the fifth set.

King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love (right) and Brooklynne Albrecht block a shot by Kamehameha Maui’s Alea Cervantes in the first set Thursday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Warriors then bolted to an 8-2 lead, and ended the match with a 4-1 run that included two kills by Ayau.

Ayau finished with 58 assists, Cervantes had 16 kills, Kimani Fernandez-Roy had nine kills and Mele Hoopii had five aces.

Na Alii led 18-12 in the first set before the Warriors scored the next six points behind the serving of Inez Garcia. There were ties at 19-19, 20-20 and 22-22 before King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love scored back-to-back points on a dink and a solo block. A kill by Nina Mac­phetridge ended the set.

Na Alii scored eight of the final 10 points of the second set, which ended on a combined block by Cymbree Trent and Annika Stammberger.

In the third set, the Warriors built a 17-12 lead and Leauanae then had kills on five of the next six points for her team. Her block gave Kamehameha set point.

Macphetridge had 20 kills, two blocks and 16 digs, Cowell had 13 kills and 14 digs, Rapanot-Uyechi had 28 assists and 11 digs, and Love had eight kills and two blocks.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct GB

KS Maui 6 0 1.000 —

King Kekaulike 4 2 .667 2

Lahainaluna 3 3 .500 3

Baldwin 2 5 .286 4 1⁄2

Maui High 1 6 .143 5 1⁄2

DIVISION II

W L Pct GB

Seabury Hall 5 0 1.000 —

Hana 2 1 .667 2

Maui Prep 2 1 .667 2

Molokai 4 3 .571 2

Haleakala Waldorf 1 4 .200 4

St. Anthony 1 5 .167 4 1⁄2

Lanai 0 1 .000 3

Thursday’s Results

Baldwin def. Maui High 13-25, 25-23, 14-25, 26-24, 15-10

Kamehameha Maui def. King Kekaulike 23-25, 19-25, 25-14, 27-25, 15-8

Hana def. Molokai 25-17, 25-23, 25-22

Today’s Matches

Hana at Molokai, 2 p.m.

St. Anthony vs. Lanai at War Memorial Gym, 6 p.m.

Maui Prep at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.

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