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Warriors hold off Lunas in 5, capture No. 2 seed

Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Jaqui Brandon (from right) goes up for a kill attempt against the block of Lahainaluna’s Keana Medeiros-Sodetani and Malika Viela in the first set Wednesday night. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

PUKALANI — The Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team started its match against Lahainaluna on Wednesday night like it was on a mission to capture the second seed in next week’s Maui Interscholastic League Division I tournament.

Then the Lunas intervened with a little to say on the matter.

The Warriors, however, had the final word in a hard-fought 25-16, 25-15, 20-25, 18-25, 15-9 win that nailed down the important No. 2 seed for the tournament.

“It feels really great, it took a full team effort for sure to get us to where we are,” KSM senior middle blocker Makamae Kaili-Kramer said amidst well-wishers in Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym. “We just had to push through our mental blocks and get to what we wanted.”

Kaili-Kramer, who finished with four kills and four blocks, admitted there were some worries as the Lunas stormed back to force a fifth set.

The Warriors’ Hiilei Fuqua (right) and Haven De Silva defend a first-set shot by the Lunas’ Hailey Killett.

“It was definitely tough,” Kaili-Kramer said. “But just with our energy on the court and constant communication, it really helped us pick up the win tonight.”

Kamehameha Maui got help from all over the roster. Leimana Purdy dished out 36 assists, had 12 digs and three aces; Kaena Cervantes had eight digs and an ace; Jaqui Brandon had eight digs, six kills and two blocks; Haven De Silva had 10 kills, five digs, two aces and two blocks; and Leilani Gates had nine kills and three aces.

The Warriors, Lunas and Maui High all came into the final night of the regular season with 5-6 league records. The Sabers swept King Kekaulike, but the Warriors claimed the second seed due to a 2-1 edge in head-to-head results with Maui High.

“That was big, not only for the seed, but we’ve been battling Lahainaluna three times this season and they’ve eked out wins against us and we finally got our chance to prove ourselves tonight,” Kamehameha Maui coach Evan Jenkins said. “We really feel good about that win.”

The first set ended when Hiilei Fuqua slammed home a kill for the Warriors.

Kalolaine Pasikala of Lahainaluna defends a first-set shot by Kamehameha Maui’s Makamae Kaili-Kramer on Wednesday.

The Lunas bounced out to a 5-0 lead in the second set behind the serving of Hailey Killett, but the Warriors came back to tie the set 6-6 on an ace by De Silva.

The Lunas again opened up a lead, 9-6, but the Warriors took complete control of the set with a 17-4 run from there to take a 23-13 lead.

The Lunas again jumped to the lead in the third set, 3-0, but a block by De Silva tied it 3-3, and back-to-back aces by Purdy gave the Warriors a 5-3 lead.

A block by Kaili-Kramer gave the Warriors an 11-10 lead, but the set was tied 12-12 and 13-13 before a block by Malika Viela gave the Lunas a 15-13 lead and a hitting error made it 16-13. An ace by Viela gave the Lunas a 20-18 lead and a Kalolaine Pasikala kill on an overpass made it 21-18 before a block by Killett finally ended it in the Lunas’ favor.

The fourth set was tied at 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Kills by Pasikala and Killett gave the Lunas a 10-8 lead and an ace by Pasikala made it 11-8. A well-placed dink by Viela made it 19-14, and an ace by Viela and block by Killett sent things to a fifth set.

Back-to-back kills by Killett gave the Lunas a 5-4 lead before De Silva tied it with a kill.

A kill that dribbled over the net by Purdy made it 11-8 and a hitting error made it 12-8, bringing the final timeout of the night by Lahainaluna coach Trixy Nuesca-Ganer.

A kill by De Silva ended the match after two hours of drama.

The Lunas must open the tournament as the No. 4 seed against No. 5 King Kekaulike, with the winner meeting 12-0 Baldwin in the semifinals.

“It was a hard-fought match — the Warriors deserved that win, they came out in the fifth set and wanted it more than we did,” Nuesca-Ganer said. “I’m proud of my girls, we just ran out of gas.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

MIL Standings

DIVISION I

W L Pct. GB

x-Baldwin 12 0 1.000 —

Kamehameha Maui 6 6 .500 6

Maui High 6 6 .500 6

Lahainaluna 5 7 .417 7

King Kekaulike 1 11 .083 11

DIVISION II

W L Pct. GB

Seabury Hall 8 0 1.000 —

Hana 7 1 .875 1

Molokai 5 3 .625 3

Lanai 4 4 .500 4

Maui Prep 1 8 .111 7 1⁄2

St. Anthony 0 9 .000 8 1⁄2

x-clinched regular-season championship

Wednesday’s Results

Kamehameha Maui def. Lahainaluna 25-16, 25-15, 20-25, 18-25, 15-9

Maui High def. King Kekaulike 25-22, 25-22, 25-16

Friday’s Matches

St. Anthony at Maui Prep, 6 p.m.

Hana at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.

Lanai at Molokai, 7 p.m.

*****

MIL Division I Tournament

Monday • First round

King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.

Tuesday • Semifinals

Baldwin vs. King Kekaulike-Lahainaluna winner at Kamehameha Maui, 5 p.m.

Maui High at Kamehameha Maui, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 1

Tournament final at Kamehameha Maui, 6 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 2

Overall championship or second-place playoff at Kamehameha Maui, 6 p.m.

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