HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Kalani’s new lineup gets past Kapolei
A little of the old and a little of the new was a winning recipe for the Lady Falcons of Kalani.
Kalani rallied for a 22-25, 25-10, 25-17 win over Kapolei last night in the opening round of the Oahu Interscholastic Association girls volleyball Division I playoffs at Mililani.
Kalani (6-7), the fourth seed from the East, will visit Aiea tomorrow.
"We had some first-game jitters," Kalani coach John Ahuna said. "And Kapolei had their home crowd here."
Kapolei, the fifth seed from the West, closed the season 3-10.
Kalani relied on a new lineup, using 5-foot-8 freshman Violet Alama in the middle. She replaced Kim Cabuyadao, who sat out for health reasons. Alama played junior-varsity ball until the past two matches.
The new lineup struggled early on.
"They had to settle in a little bit. We had to struggle, but we played better as a team because of it," said assistant coach Daryl Tamashiro, who handles game strategy for the Lady Falcons.
Meghan Koizumi and Charly Sampaga, two of Kalani's five seniors, led the way. Middle blocker Koizumi tallied 12 kills and three aces, and outside hitter Sampaga tallied 13 kills and two aces.
Charmaine Jackson led Kapolei with five kills and two aces. Becka Simanu added two kills and four roofs.
"After the first game, our energy went down," said Jackson, a senior outside hitter. "I thought we should've beat them, but Kalani is a very strong defensive team."
In the first set, Jackson had two aces and the Hurricanes enjoyed a multitude of errors by the Lady Falcons to win.
The Hurricanes zoomed to a 9-5 lead, thanks in part to Marie Nataniela's play at the net and Simanu's roof. Kalani rallied to take the lead at 10-9, and again at 17-16. A kill by Koizumi tied the game at 21, and another kill by Sampaga tied it a 22.
A net violation by Melia Iwamoto on what seemed to be an easy kill helped Kapolei regain the lead. A bad pass on the ensuing serve gave Kapolei another easy point before Iwamoto was long on a swing over the middle to end the opening game.
Kalani turned into an entirely different team in the second game. Gone were the unforced errors as Koizumi and Sampaga dominated. Koizumi rolled off three aces in a row to help her team take a quick 5-2 lead. Sampaga was unstoppable, particularly with her dink shots from the left side, as Kalani went on a 7-1 run en route to an easy win.
Sampaga amassed seven kills in the set, while Koizumi tallied four as Kalani seized momentum.
The third game was even until Kalani went on an 8-4 run. That gave the Lady Falcons a 13-9 lead, thanks in large part to Kapolei passing errors.
Mililani def. McKinley 26-24, 25-23
All things being equal, the Lady Trojans turned to their equalizer.
Junior Marissa Weidemann had five aces, including the match winner, as Mililani advanced into the second round of the playoffs. Mililani, the No. 3 seed from the West, will play Roosevelt tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Aiea's gym.
McKinley, the sixth seed from the East, finished the season 2-11. The 5-9 Weidemann proved to be the difference, chipping in with three key kills in the second game.
"I'm really pleased with our progress since July," Mililani coach Dexter Young said. "We've learned to trust each other."