HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Troubadours dump Spartans
St. Francis wins in straight sets to claim the ILH D-II title
The St. Francis duo of Cubi Otineru and Kylie Harrington proved to be too much for the smaller Maryknoll Spartans to overcome.
Otineru finished with a match-high 10 kills and Harrington added seven as the eighth-ranked Troubadours defeated Maryknoll 25-16, 25-18 to win the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II championship last night at Kamehameha.
The win also clinched a berth in the state tournament for the Troubadours. Maryknoll (9-9) also earned a state tournament berth, but needed help from Sacred Hearts, who defeated Christian Academy yesterday giving the Spartans and the Lancers the remaining two state berths from the ILH.
"It's a good win," St. Francis coach Eric Perry said. "Our passing has gotten a lot better, our serving was really good, and we just ran our plays."
Last night's game started off slow as both teams struggled to find a rhythm. But with the score tied at seven, Kristine Aquino served seven straight points, including two aces, to give the Troubadours a lead too big for the Spartans to overcome.
"We were tight until that point (in Game 1)," Spartans coach John Hermosura said. "That run pretty much took care of the game. Our service reception was not very good."
Aces by Lyann Chun and Mariliz LaPorte helped the Spartans take the early lead again in Game 2, but three consecutive hitting errors by Maryknoll put St. Francis right back on top. With the score tied at 16, Harrington put down a block and two kills as part of a 6-0 run that proved to be the end for Maryknoll.
"When you mess up, you just have to shake it off and I knew this was a big game," Harrington said. "We practiced really hard and our defense stepped up and it feels really good."
Saint Francis defeated Maryknoll in straight sets earlier this season, but last night's game wasn't as much of a struggle as it was when the two teams played back in September.
"We might have overlooked them a bit earlier in the season, but our assistant coach saw them play and said that they had really picked their game up," Perry said.
Otineru, who split her kills evenly between both games, agreed.
"We took them a little lightly and it showed," she said. "We knew they'd play their game, but we just have to start strong from the beginning and stick with it and we did."
Otineru has had to take on a greater role this season as the team's captain, but says it has been a privilege to be in the position she is in, especially with the supporting cast that she has.
"I've felt a lot of responsibility being the captain," she said. "We lost a lot of seniors last season and (Harrington) has been a big help. She has taken a lot of pressure off of me."
"She gives me so much support," Harrington added about Otineru. "We both have a lot of club experience and I'm glad to have her on the team."
The two will look to bring the Troubadours their first state championship as the tournament gets under way Nov. 7.