HHSAA BOYS VOLLEYBALL
Hana rallies past Waianae to advance to title match
DIVISION II BOYS SEMIFINAL
In a seesaw battle of undefeated squads, second-seeded Hana had just enough left in its tank to escape with a 20-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory over No. 3 seed Waianae in the semifinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II Boys Volleyball State Championships last night at Radford High.
After trailing 23-21 in the third set, the Dragons (11-0) took advantage of three Searider balls that sailed into the net. The costly errors allowed Hana to put together a 4-0 run to seal the match and advance to tonight's championship match at the Stan Sheriff Center at 6 p.m.
"Solid, it's unreal," said Hana head coach Manuel Oliveira as he embraced some of the faithful fans who made the trip from Maui. "They deserve it, they worked hard all season. It was a good game for both sides."
On the opposite side of the coin, Waianae just seemed to lose focus and unravel when it mattered most.
"At any time, any team could have won," said Waianae head coach Georgieann Keiki. "Hana pulled it off at the end, and we just couldn't finish it off. Hats off to Hana."
Waianae (13-1) jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in Game 1, but Hana cut the deficit to 12-11. The Seariders proceeded to put together four straight points, and eventually extended the lead to 23-16, thanks in part to four Dragon service errors. After a kill from Robert Mokiao, Waianae clinched the opening frame on yet another Hana service error.
The squads traded points to start the second game, until the Dragons picked up five consecutive points to take a 12-7 lead. Hana kept the heat on, and after extending the margin to 20-13, closed out the game with a 5-2 run. The momentum took a turn in the Dragons' favor as Harold Kaiwi, who collected 11 kills, pounded down the game-clincher to send the match into a decisive third game.
"I wasn't sure at first," Kaiwi said of his approach to the clinching kill, "but I just swung away. It felt so good."
Oliveira attributes the shift in momentum to a rotation change on his part, which he wished to keep secret in case he uses it again tonight.
"When the second rotation came around, I knew we had 'em," he said.
Hana kept the hits coming, and used five kills and two blocks en route to a 7-4 lead, forcing Waianae to call a timeout. After the Dragons increased the lead to 13-9, the Seariders countered with a 5-2 run to come within a point. After the squads battled to tie the score at 19, Waianae took advantage of a kill and a block from Mokiao, and looked to be sitting pretty up 23-21.
But, after Seasider Anthony Robinson found the net twice, and Kaiwi put down a kill, Casey Seminavage (11 kills) capped the collapse as his spike hit nothing but net.
"Our boys did well, they did their best," Keiki said. "But I believe we let it slip away, we lost it."
With the loss, Waianae drops into the battle for third place in today's match at 3 p.m. at the Sheriff Center.