DIVISION II HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Molokai sweeps past Kaimuki and into match against Word of Life
Molokai coach Matthew Helm said it has been six years since his team last qualified for the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships.
His team certainly didn't waste its opportunity in the Division II opening round last night.
The Farmers officially announced their presence in the tournament as they harvested several spurts of solid passing from senior setter Kaenaokala Sproat-Albino to senior hitter Aolani Ahina and defeated the Kaimuki Bulldogs 25-22, 25-20 at Punahou School.
"We started off a little shaky, a little anxiety I think," a jubilant Helm said. "It's our first time in a long time of being at the state tournament. They pulled it out, they hung strong, and I'm proud of them for that."
Ahina finished with nine kills -- most off of pretty setups from Sproat-Albino -- five aces and a solo block to lead Molokai's attack.
"The other girls weren't really having their good game (going), but Aolani was having her good game, so I just fed her the ball," Sproat-Albino said.
The Bulldogs (11-4), meanwhile, struggled to find their range for most of the match, and when they were on target their attacks often weren't forceful enough to pierce the Farmers' defenses.
"I think our entire game was slower than we would like ... the balls weren't dropping where we wanted to, we couldn't put the balls down where we wanted to," Kaimuki coach Shaunna Smith said "Not as good as Molokai."
Senior Alyssia Fiamate led the Bulldogs with four kills, a block and an ace.
Molokai's defining moment came early in Game 2, when it quickly fell behind 5-1 after three consecutive attack errors to start the game. But Sproat-Albino set a ball from antenna-to-antenna across the court for Ahina, who rewarded her teammate with a forceful kill. That sparked a run where Ahina added another kill, a block and three aces out of six serves to turn things into a 9-6 advantage for the Farmers.
"At first, we were kind of hesitant, our hitters," Ahina said. "We had to get the team together and focus. We had to pull together as a team, because everybody had their own thing going on."
Then, after the Bulldogs ripped off three straight points to take a 17-16 edge, it was Ahina again who raised her play, smashing down kills for her team's next three points for a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Molokai (10-5) now faces a much taller task, though -- taking on top-seeded Word of Life, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu D-II champion, today at 7:30 p.m.
Sproat-Albino believes the Farmers are up to the task of toppling the No. 6 Firebrands.
"We just need to be prepared for anything and yup, have faith," she said, smiling.
Waimea 2, Waianae 0
Waimea demonstrated to Waianae why the Menehunes went undefeated in the Kauai Interscholastic Federation regular season, dismantling the Seariders 25-18, 25-13 in the second of two matches at Punahou.
Waimea (9-0) used a 10-1 run to start Game 2 to put Waianae (8-6) in a hole from which it couldn't recover.
The Menehunes were led by Nue Wong with 12 kills, and now advance to face the fourth-seeded St. Joseph Cardinals of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation today at 6 p.m.
Anastasia Fogatu led Waianae with five kills and two blocks.
La Pietra 2, Hawaii Prep 0
The Panthers swept Ka Makani 25-14, 25-13 at the Radford gym.
La Pietra (10-9) moves on to play Oahu Interscholastic Association champion and second-seeded Kalaheo (10-4) in the quarterfinals today.
Hawaii Prep (11-7) takes on Hilo in a consolation-bracket game today.
Sacred Hearts 2, Hilo 0
The Lancers improved their record to 14-6 by topping the Vikings 25-17, 25-19 at the Radford gym.
Sacred Hearts advances to play Maui champion and third-seeded Seabury Hall (11-1) today.
Hilo fell to 13-4.