[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]
No. 8 Iolani edges past
Word of Life in 4 games
The Iolani Raiders can breathe a sigh of relief, sort of.
The Raiders overcame sterling performances by Careena Onosai and Chanteal Satele to defeat Word of Life 25-13, 21-25, 27-25, 25-22 yesterday morning to advance in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls volleyball tournament.
With the win in the air-conditioned confines of its gym, fourth-seeded Iolani (11-3) will face top-seeded Punahou on Tuesday in the semifinal round.
Word of Life, seeded fifth, finished the season 7-7.
"I'm proud of them. They played tough today," WLA coach Leeann Satele said.
The Raiders, ranked No. 8 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, relied on a balanced attack led by freshman Lauren Minkel, junior Tori Chun and sophomore setter Kapua Kamana'o to get past a resilient WLA squad.
"I'm relieved. In the second round, everybody's picked up their game," Iolani co-head coach Rona Kekauoha said. "Word of Life played a helluva game."
Onosai, a 6-foot junior, pounded 17 kills and had six blocks to pace the Firebrands. Satele, a freshman with tremendous accuracy, added 15 kills and four blocks. Sophomore Shayna Onosai chipped in with 11 kills, two blocks and an ace.
It wasn't enough to overcome Iolani's defense.
"Their ballhandling is great. You can really see they're having fun," Satele said. "That team epitomizes the joy of the game."
The Firebrands showed significant improvement over the course of the season.
"Their passing is so much better. It's totally different from the first time," said Rena Winchester, Iolani's other co-head coach. "Careena is outstanding, and so is Leeann's daughter (Chanteal)."
Word of Life's practice time increased from 90 minutes to 2 1/2 hours each day during the week. "That helped us a lot," Satele said of her team, which doesn't have a home gym of its own.
Iolani dominated the opening game, finishing off the Firebrands with three aces in a row by Kamana'o.
Chanteal Satele spiked five kills and Onosai added four in Game 2 as the Firebrands bounced back. Kills by Dariess Wright and Satele sparked a 5-0 run that pushed WLA to a 19-12 lead and the Game 2 win.
The teams were dead even in Game 3 at 25-all before Tomiko Hobbs and Minkel pounded kills to give the Raiders a 2-1 edge.
Game 4 was much the same. Word of Life was within 23-22 after a kill by Satele, but Minkel slammed a kill, and Chun got a kill off a WLA block to end the match.