[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kahuku's Hapaki Kaululaau hit against the defense of Mililani's Kevin Carvalho yesterday.
Red Raiders sweep
Trojans to advance
The Kahuku Red Raiders were longing for a perfect game.
The Mililani Trojans needed a perfect game. Instead, their hot streak cooled as Kahuku swept its way to a 25-18, 25-18 win yesterday afternoon in the Oahu Interscholastic Association boys volleyball playoffs.
The win at McKinley Student Council Gym vaulted Kahuku (11-1) into the finals.
The Red Raiders will play Kalaheo on Thursday at McKinley.
Kalaheo, which toppled upset-minded Nanakuli last night, swept Kahuku in two games during its regular-season battle.
Kahuku, ranked No. 7 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, committed just 16 errors in the two games. That allowed its powerful hitters to take control. Okosene Ale Jr. pounded nine kills with just two hitting errors, and added a roof and an ace. Charles Bell slammed eight kills, including three over the middle early in the second game to set the tone for Kahuku's dominance.
Mililani, the fifth seed from the West, dropped to 8-5. The Trojans have qualified for the state tournament.
"We just gotta forget about it. We didn't show up, and the passing wasn't there," Mililani coach John Ing said. "We were flat the whole two sets."
Scott Neumann led the Trojans with five kills. Kevin Carvalho added four.
Kahuku, which struggled at home Thursday in a quarterfinal win over Leilehua, played its best match in recent weeks.
"We came out with a lot of intensity," said Bell, a 6-foot-2 junior. "We worked a lot on our passing."
Kahuku coach Howard Kaululaau liked his team's concentration level.
"We had a lot of focus and intensity," he said. "The boys were ready; this was a rematch of last year's (OIA) title match. We worked a bunch on passing and our defense. We adjusted our defensive coverage."
With setter/outside hitter Hapaki Kaululaau finding Mililani's defense at every stop, the court opened up for Bell and Ale.
"Charles, the last three, four games, has really stepped it up to his potential," Kaululaau said. "Junior is playing at his peak right now."
Kalaheo def. Nanakuli 25-22, 25-15
With David and Moses on their side, the Mustangs could not lose.
Chase Moses, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker, came up with a roof and two kills down the stretch to help Kalaheo win a close first game.
In Game 2, Elias David had two of his three aces at a critical juncture as the Mustangs beat the Golden Hawks. Nanakuli had pulled within 14-12 when David smacked two aces to help Kalaheo open a five-point lead. Nanakuli never got within four points the rest of the way.
Kalaheo (12-0) is ranked No. 6 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10. The Mustangs did plenty to neutralize Nanakuli's big guns, Aaron Amaral and Clarence Sesepasara.
"We tried to throw them off their passing, take their best hitters out of the game," Kalaheo coach Sivan Leoni said.
The OIA season is over for Nanakuli (8-5), but the state tourney awaits.
"Nobody expected us to be there," Nanakuli coach Rosalind Palakiko said. "We're happy to be going to states, to be part of the top teams in the OIA."