Warriors fall to Na Menehune
Kamehameha Maui finishes at 8-6 after first-round state loss
PUKALANI — A season that started with some growing pains ended with a sweep for the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team in the New City Nissan Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I state tournament on Monday evening at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym.
Moanalua, the third-place finisher in the Oahu Interscholastic Association, beat Kamehameha Maui 25-8, 25-20, 25-18.
“I just talked to the girls about having to sometimes see the ugly in order to move past those things and be better,” Kamehameha Maui coach Alex Akana said after her team’s season ended with an 8-6 record. “That was kind of a reflection of how our season started.”
After getting blitzed in the first set, the Warriors hung tough in the second. It was 5-5 before Na Menehune went on a 4-0 run.
The largest cheer of the night came after a long rally won by the Warriors that tied the score, 14-14. Moanalua immediatlely went on another 4-0 run and the Warriors could not get closer than three the rest of the set.
The third set started 6-1 for Na Menehune before the Warriors closed within 7-4. One more time Moanalua put the pedal to the floor and opened a 12-5 lead that brought a timeout from Akana.
The Warriors would not get closer than six the rest of the match.
A team that graduates just three seniors — Alea Cervantes, Tatiana Martinez, and Kamaile Asing – overcame slow starts in the Kamehameha Kapalama preseason tournament and in Maui Interscholastic League play.
“The Kapalama tournament was not good, but I don’t think we would have been at this point if we didn’t see that,” Akana said. “I think we can build a lot on this. It wasn’t the season that we were hoping for — we were hoping for better — but sometimes it takes these seasons to be stronger and come back stronger and light a fire under our butts for offseason.”
The Warriors were led by Martinez’s four kills, but they hit negative .067 as a team and had just 12 kills overall.
Moanalua (12-3) moves on to face top-seeded Kamehameha Kapalama in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Jeslyn Spencer had 13 kills and Tayli Ikenaga had 11 kills for Na Menehune, who have only four seniors on the roster.
A key to the outcome was the 8-0 advantage Na Menehune had in service aces.
“The young team that we have, one of the strengths is our serve,” Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting said. “When our serve stays in we do some damage against good teams. Today was one of those days where we were serving really well and that took Kamehameha out of their comfort zone.”
Cabanting knows things don’t get any easier for his team against mighty Kapalama.
“I think especially with the youth of this group you never know what’s going to come up,” Cabanting said. “So facing Kapalama it’s just, ‘Hey, we have nothing to lose. Play like it’s the last game and just go after every ball.’ “
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
New City Nissan Girls Volleyball
Kamehameha Hawaii def. Waianae, 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14.
Moanalua def. Kamehameha Maui, 25-8, 25-20, 25-18
Iolani def. Kapolei, 25-19, 25-16, 25-15
Kahuku def. Farrington 16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-12
No. 2 Mililani vs. Kamehameha Hawaii, 5 p.m.
No. 3 King Kekaulike vs. Iolani, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Hilo vs. Kahuku, 5 p.m.
No. 1 Kamehameha Kapalama vs. Moanalua, 7 p.m.