[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]
Ching ends University’s
The smallest player on the court was Maryknoll's biggest hero.
Justin Ching, a 5-foot-6 hitter, had 14 kills and a solo block to lead the Spartans to an 18-25, 23-25, 26-24, 25-20, 16-14 victory over University in the first round of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu boys volleyball playoffs yesterday at Damien.
The fifth-seeded Spartans (7-4) face Punahou in Tuesday's semifinals. Jason Shon had 14 kills as the fourth-seeded Jr. 'Bows ended the season at 7-4.
Down two games, Ching led an inspired comeback with 12 kills in the final three games.
The Spartans played off of the momentum from a win in Game 3 and jumped out to a 5-1 lead in Game 4 behind two Ching kills.
"They just picked up on what happened in the third set and ran," University coach Joshua Suapaia said. "It was hard for us after that to see the end of the tunnel."
University rallied to take the lead at 15-14 on a kill by Jonathan Yuen but gave up a point when he was mistakenly substituted out of the game.
After his kill, University signaled to substitute Yuen out of the game so James Kometani could serve for him in the back row. However, Yuen had not completed his rotation in the front, so University served the ball long to insert him back into the game on the next sideout.
Maryknoll scored the next four points and University got no closer than three the rest of the way.
The Spartans never trailed in Game 5 but couldn't win on their first match point after University's John Duro put down his 13th kill of the match to make it 14-13.
After a Maryknoll timeout, Yuen's kill tied the game for the fifth time. But Tyler Tsukazaki's cross-court kill made it 15-14 and Ching ended it when his hit went off a University player.
"I always know we can come back," Maryknoll coach Blaine Gier said. "It depended on if we dug deep and did all the things we practiced on."
University's defense controlled the game early on with nine blocks.
"It all comes down to whoever can take care of the ball," Suapaia said. "On the defensive end, we have some guys who can put up the big block. Everything was working for us in the first couple games."