[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]
Warriors trip scrappy Menehunes
On the outside, the Moanalua girls volleyball team's tandem of Brianna Amian and Kaleinani Kabalis ranks among the top in the state. If only their teammates could get the ball to them.
With solid serving and a relentless attack, defending state champion Kamehameha started off yesterday's pool play in the Hawaii Volleyball Invitational with a 25-12, 25-22 win over Moanalua at Kekuhaupio Gym.
Gold and silver round play takes place today starting at 4 p.m. The championship match is scheduled for 8 p.m.
"We were lucky, we got them in a bad spot," Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said.
Amian finished with a game-high 10 kills, while Kabalis put down nine.
Despite keeping up with the Warriors early on, the Menehunes soon fell behind by six points after a string of three service aces by Kamehameha's Cassie Young.
"It was not a normal thing," Moanalua coach Thomas Lake said.
With a mix of everything from crushing heaters to short taps, the Warriors made it difficult for the Menehunes on serve receive, posting seven aces with just two errors. By comparison, Moanalua had just one ace along with seven errors.
The shaky passing, along with two very young and inexperienced setters in freshman Carsen Mata and junior Deanna Maio, made it difficult for the Menehunes to set up their big guns.
"We have good outside hitters, but right now, it's how we can work it to deliver them the ball," Lake said.
The Warriors jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in game two, fueled by two Bekah Torres blasts straight down onto the middle of the court. She and outside Kanani Herring finished with a team-high six kills.
"A few times we broke down on our passing, but we pulled together as a team," Torres said.
"All the hard work and effort (Herring) put in in the offseason is really paying off for us," Blake said. Spending her summer with the U.S. youth national team along with Warrior teammate Jordan Meredith, Herring has come back to Kamehameha with an even more explosive attack. With her long approach, she appeared to fly to the net on her crosscourt shot that gave the Warriors a 12-4 advantage in the second game. The junior followed that up with an ace before being subbed out.
Though they were down by as many as nine points, the Menehunes fought back. A Moanalua double block capped off a four-point run that brought the Menehunes to within 23-22. But it wasn't enough as Cherise Mapali ended the match with an ace down the left line.
"It shows how good they are," Blake said of the Menehunes. "They kept on chipping away because they don't give up, and that's a sign of a good team."