HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
St. Francis edges Radford for state championship
The swings of momentum were violent, but in the end, St. Francis was the team able to hang in the match, rebounding from a second-game letdown to claim the first HHSAA Girls Division II State Championship last night.
The Troubadours (18-3), led by Kawena Cubi-Otineru, overcame a late three-point deficit in the third game to defeat Radford (15-2) on the Rams' home court 25-17, 16-25, 25-22.
Cubi-Otineru and Kylie Harrington each pounded down 16 kills in the win, while Samantha Lau added five.
The first two games were decided early, as each team got out to big leads early. But in the third, the Troubadours and Rams were never more than three points apart. Behind the lethal shots of Alzie Auelua, Radford remained in control of the game until the Troubadours scored six straight points, mostly on Ram hitting errors, to take a three-point lead.
"As (St. Francis was) catching up, they got a little scared to make mistakes," Radford coach Sheri Sagayaga said. "But overall, we told them that we're proud of them."
Though the Rams were able to tie it at 22-22, the Troubadours went back to Cubi-Otineru, who closed out the remaining points with two kills.
Auelua led the Rams with 11 kills and seven blocks, and Melanie Faaliga added six kills.
"I think the wear of the three games got to them," St. Francis coach Eric Perry said of Auelua and Faaliga. "It took a lot out of them. It was a long fight."
After the Troubadours took a commanding 7-2 lead to start off the match behind Kanani Perry's serving, the Rams couldn't get any defense going as Cubi-Otineru rotated into the front row. The senior hitter was nearly unstoppable in the first set, getting eight kills with no errors despite facing two and three blockers on every attempt.
St. Francis eventually took an eight-point lead late in the game and never looked back as Harrington ended the frame with a hard crosscourt shot.
Confident after the first-game rout, Kanani Perry said her team was perhaps too confident. Troubadour coach Eric Perry said it may have been a mistake to pull some of his starters in the second game, as the Rams would go up by as many as 10 points in the set. The winner of Game 2 was never in doubt as Auelua finished it off with a line shot that fell just inside the backline.
"We thought we had them after the first game," Cubi-Otineru said. "But in the third game, we just started taking it slowly, and we were able to finally pull away."
"We just got knocked to the floor," Kanani Perry said. "But we just picked ourselves up and realized this is it, this is our last game, so we got to give it our all."
Unlike Game 1, Cubi-Otineru found it hard to get through the Radford block, which put a roof over her four times in the set.
"She's used to that but, whoa, what a player," Eric Perry said of Cubi-Otineru. "You can't ask more from somebody like that, who can put away a ball when needed."
Third place: Maryknoll def. Kaimuki 13-25, 25-20, 26-24
Fifth place: Kaiser def. Seabury Hall 25-17, 25-21
Seventh place: Kapaa def. Konawaena 25-19, 25-20