Warriors hand Na Alii first loss of season
Four-set Kamehameha win puts both teams at seven sets apiece
PUKALANI — The difference between the King Kekaulike High School and Kamehameha Maui girls volleyball teams is razor-thin.
The cross-the-street rivals proved that once again on Thursday night at the King Kekaulike Gym in a 19-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-21 win for the Warriors.
The result left both teams with seven sets won against each other this season — Na Alii (11-1) had already clinched the Maui Interscholastic League Division I regular-season title and state berth by virtue of their two five-set wins over Kamehameha Maui (10-2) in the last two weeks.
Kamehameha Maui coach Alex Akana stresses getting the offense to be well-rounded and that mission was accomplished Thursday night.
“It really is even, they’re a really good team,” Akana said. “I believed in my girls all season, but I think we were waiting for them to believe in themselves. So, it was a good three matches, but we’ll take it.”
These two teams will be the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds for next week’s MIL tournament. Both teams next play in the semifinals on Wednesday at Maui High’s Shine Matsui Athletic Center.
The Warriors were led by Jhene Saribay’s 16 kills, while Hoala Alapai had 15 and Logan Spencer had 14. Saribay had four aces and 12 digs, Taylor Morita had 13 digs and 21 assists, Meleana Hoopii had 12 digs and three aces, while Kayla Yamashita dished out 17 assists.
“I feel like our passes were a really big part of that and our hitters executed very well,” Yamashita said. “So I think the team effort, we did very good at executing and finishing the plays.”
Yamashita said that Thursday’s win will give the Warriors confidence next week if they see Na Alii in the tournament final.
“I feel like it was a very big game to come up against a very tough team, but I feel like it’s what we needed to push into the MIL tournament and hopefully states,” Yamashita said.
Na Alii were led by Montana DiSegna, who had 15 kills and 17 digs. Temahh Shaw had nine kills and four blocks, and Nanna Inoue had 24 digs, two aces and two assists.
The two teams have battled for more than seven hours on the court so far this season.
“It’s going to come down to who makes more mistakes, honestly,” King Kekaulike coach Al Paschoal said. “That’s what it’s going to come down to and I think that was us tonight.”
Having the state berth wrapped up did not make it an easy situation for the home team on their senior night Thursday.
“Yes and no,” Paschoal said. “It’s always tough to get up for a match that doesn’t really have any implications, but you always want to finish strong going into the tournament.”
After Na Alii rolled in the first set, the Warriors got things going in the next three. Two straight Saribay kills gave the Warriors a 24-23 lead in the second set before a King Kekaulike error eventually ended it.
Na Alii led 9-5 in the third set before the Warriors went on a 5-1 run to tie it at 10. The set was still tied at 15 before Kamehameha rattled off a 9-2 run that made it 24-17 on an ace by Hoopii.
In the fourth, the Warriors rolled out to a 13-6 lead, and Na Alii did not get closer than two the rest of the way.
“I think this is very important for us going into next week,” Akana said. “Going into the MIL tournament, we’re going to see them, I expect to, and now we know what we’re capable of. It’s good for them to see what they can do.”
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
W L Pct. GB
x-King Kekaulike 11 1 1.000 —
Kamehameha Maui 10 2 .833 1
Baldwin 6 6 .500 5
Lahainaluna 3 9 .250 8
Maui High 0 12 .000 11
W L Pct. GB
Molokai 10 0 1.000 —
Seabury Hall 9 0 1.000 1⁄2
Hana 6 4 .600 4
Lanai 5 5 .500 5
Haleakala Waldorf 4 7 364 6 1⁄2
Maui Prep 1 9 .100 9
St. Anthony 0 10 .000 10
x-clinched regular-season championship
Baldwin def. Maui High 25-17, 27-25, 19-25, 25-19
Kamehameha Maui def. King Kekaulike 19-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-21
Lanai at Hana, 7 p.m.
Molokai at Seabury Hall, 7 p.m.
MIL DIVISION I TOURNAMENT
Play-in: No. 5 Maui High at No. 4 Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.
Semifinal: No. 1 King Kekaulike vs. Lahainaluna-Maui High winner at Maui High, 4:30 p.m.
Semifinal: No. 2 Kamehameha Maui vs. No. 3 Baldwin at Maui High, 6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 10
Tournament final at Maui High, 6 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11
Overall championship or second-place playoff, if necessary, at Baldwin, 6 p.m.