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Spartans down Dragons

Seabury Hall wins in what could be last match of the year

Seabury Hall’s Kai Preseault attempts a second-set kill against the block of Hana’s Kayden Kaauamo. The Spartans swept the match Friday night at the Erdman Athletic Center. — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

OLINDA — While disappointed by the abrupt news of statewide high school sports being suspended, the Seabury Hall and Hana boys volleyball teams came to compete Friday night at the Erdman Athletic Center for what could be one last hoorah.

Starting Monday, all competition under the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the state’s five leagues, including the Maui Interscholastic League, is indefinitely suspended due to the rising threat of the COVID-19 virus. While the MIL had events scheduled for today, it decided to scrub all of them. That meant Friday night could have been the last action of the season for the Spartans and Dragons.

Regardless of the indefinite halt, the defending champion Spartans played as if the season is not over, defeating the Dragons 25-15, 25-18, 25-23.

“Honestly, for me, I really enjoyed it since it is my last year, I’m a senior, and yeah it’s very unfortunate of the circumstances that we’re in right now,” Seabury Hall outside hitter Chase Keating said. “I just wish it could be longer.”

Kalai Anderson led the Spartans (3-0) with nine kills and four digs; Keating had six kills, five digs and three aces; Kai Preseault added six kills and six blocks; and Zak Burkett dished out 25 assists and four aces.

Seabury Hall’s Pono Birnie (from left) attempts a first-set kill against the block of Hana’s Shayden Hoopai-Waikoloa and Irie Mizner. — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Hana fell to 0-3.

Keating joined the team as a sophomore and said “it’s been great” ever since, and is “happy with where I’m at right now.”

“It was kind of emotional for all of us, but it was an amazing experience and I’m just really proud of everyone, this group, in the way that they’ve worked together for our relatively short season and made so much improvement in just the attitude that they bring to practice every day,” Spartans coach Josh Kulhavy-Sutherland said. “I’m really going to miss coaching them and working with them. I was really happy they got one last chance to play in front of their home crowd.”

In the event that interscholastic sports resume, Kulhavy-Sutherland said the players will try and be prepared through some beach volleyball.

On Friday night in front of a small crowd combined of Seabury Hall students, families and Hana fans, the Spartans jumped to a 9-3 lead in the first set off kills by Keating, Preseault and Carter Phillips.

Hana closed within five points (17-12) after an ace and kill by Kaua Medeiros, who totaled six kills, but the Dragons would not get any closer. Seabury Hall’s Tyler Russell eventual ace finished the frame.

A Dragons’ 4-0 run closed the gap to 23-18 in the second set, but back-to-back kills by Pono Birnie and Anderson ended the set.

In the final set, the Dragons led 12-8 after an ace and kill by Medeiros, and a few Seabury net violations and service errors.

The Spartans’ Burkett scored two points to tie it 17-17, but Hana’s Kayden Kaauamo smacked back-to-back kills to give the Dragons a late lead. Kaauamo totaled three kills and an ace.

With the scoreboard at 20-20, Seabury went on a 4-0 run that included kills by Anderson and Keating and an ace by Burkett to surpass the Dragons. A service error ended the match.

“It’s really hard because the season just started, but safety is priority and we have to keep that in mind and just have fun,” Hana coach Anjoleen Hoopai-Waikoloa said. “Seabury is a really strong team, so for us tonight, we just tried our best and just have fun because we don’t know if it’s the end, especially for the seniors — we don’t know what’s going to happen.”

In the only other match on Friday, Molokai swept past Lanai 28-26, 25-15, 25-23 to improve to 3-0. Lanai is now 0-3.

* Dakota Grossman is at dgrossman@maunews.com

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