HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kahuku players celebrated their OIA title victory over Roosevelt last night at McKinley High School.
Red Raiders rough up Riders for another OIA championship
Kahuku's biggest guns were silent last night, which should've been great news for the Roosevelt Rough Riders.
Instead, Kahuku turned to a rising sophomore in a 25-19, 25-20 sweep of Roosevelt to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association girls volleyball championship at the McKinley gym.
Leilani Tafuna pounded six of her team-high eight kills in the second set to lead the Red Raiders (14-1). The win gave third-ranked Kahuku its third league crown in the last four years and fourth in the past six seasons under coach Mona Ah-Hoy.
Kahuku will draw an opening-round bye in the state championships, which begins Monday.
Tafuna's consistency was welcomed by the Red Raiders, who got just four kills from Camilla Ah-Hoy.
"If you told me she'd end up with just four kills, I wouldn't have believed you," Roosevelt coach Bryan Camello said. "Kahuku is a great team. They have too many weapons. You don't know who's gonna blow up."
Ah-Hoy made a difference with her all-around game. The versatile senior teamed with Lenora Nauahi to give Tafuna a number of open looks from the left side. Another senior, Ane Vea, finished with five kills.
"This team is not dependent on only one person. Ane, Leilani and Lily (Latu) did a really good job of stepping up," Ah-Hoy said.
In addition to Tafuna, Latu proved to be a major difference-maker at middle blocker. The undersized Latu got to just about every ball in her area and negated any Roosevelt momentum in the opening set.
"It's awesome teamwork," coach Ah-Hoy said. "Leilani had some really good practices this week, especially yesterday. I was telling Camilla to push the ball down the line (to Tafuna) on the smaller blockers."
Roosevelt (12-3), ranked seventh, will enter the state tourney as the OIA's second seed.
Justiana Kalilimoku led Roosevelt with eight kills. Brandi Pupuhi added six for the young Rough Riders.
From the start, Roosevelt didn't have an answer for Latu's athleticism in the middle. The senior, who opened preseason as an outside hitter, moved back to the middle after some key injuries and academic casualties.
With Latu collecting five kills in the first set, Kahuku dominated at times, only to falter with self-inflicted errors. Roosevelt pulled within 15-14 after a pair of lifts by Kahuku.
The Red Raiders, however, went on a 10-4 blitz to end the game. Vea added four kills, a roof and an ace, and Ah-Hoy tallied two kills and two roofs.
Kahuku, riding momentum and the support of their well-traveled fans, controlled most of the second set. Tafuna caught fire, pounding four kills as her team took a commanding 9-1 lead.