FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kahuku's Nile Te'o watched as her kill went through the block of Mililani's Mariah Choo last night.
Kahuku pounces on Mililani’s mistakes
The Lady Raiders of Kahuku know how to finish, all right.
Riding a balanced attack and a near flawless passing game, fifth-ranked Kahuku swept No. 8 Mililani 25-12, 25-15 last night in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference volleyball playoffs.
Kahuku (12-2) will face Moanalua in tomorrow night's league championship.
At McKinley Student Council Gym, the Lady Raiders showed no effects of a long bus ride to town and won in surprisingly easy fashion. Shanlie Kaulula'au had five kills, including four in the first game, and setter Tajana Santiago had 15 assists without a miscue for Kahuku.
"It's good to have won some of these kinds of games," Lady Raiders coach Uila Fotu-Vendiola said. "They started off focused and stayed focused. Our team chemistry is peaking right now. Two weeks ago, we were still looking for it."
The Lady Raiders also got four kills from Nile Te'o, and a commanding block led by Alayna Galeai, who had three kills and two of her team's six service aces.
For the Trojans, it was a night to forget.
"We left our game at the Kinau Street cutoff," coach Dexter Young said, retaining some semblance of humor. "When it's 5:22 (p.m.) and you're in traffic, it's not easy. We left (Mililani) at 4:15."
The match began promptly at 6 p.m., and the Trojans got aces from Jolene Realin and Christen Schrimer to take a quick 4-1 lead.
"Even though we started bad, we tried to pick ourselves up," Santiago said.
After that, however, many Mililani errors allowed Kahuku to dominate.
Kahuku went on a 7-1 run and never looked back. Mililani committed 11 unforced errors in the opening game.
The Lady Raiders roared to 12-4 lead in the second game and emptied their bench soon after.
Kahuku's serve gave the Trojans trouble, as well.
"We knew the key to their team was their outside hitters 16 (Candace Soares) and 13 (Allie Elliazar). We had to serve them tough and make them move," Fotu-Vendiola said.
Young said his team will have to work on the basics.
"We weren't taking care of the little things that get us into the system. Our passers had a bad day," he said.
Kahuku's penchant for the high outside set went unchallenged for most of the match.
"We knew they'd tip to that," Young said. "We just didn't get there."
Soares finished with five kills and one ace, and Elliazar had three kills.
Mililani (8-5) will play for third place tomorrow, 4:30 p.m., at McKinley.
"We need to leave a lot earlier for that one," Young said.
Five teams from the OIA will play in the state championships next week in Hilo.
No. 7 Moanalua def. No. 4 Roosevelt 2-0
Kaleinani Kabalis amassed 16 kills and two of her team's six service aces as Na Menehune (9-4) advanced to the final. Hoku Dela Cruz had all three of her aces in the second set as Moanalua took control and ousted the defending OIA champions.
Meleana Yamashiro led Roosevelt (11-3) with 10 kills and an ace.
"We have better chemistry now," Kabalis said. "We're playing as one and we just wanted it more, I guess."
Roosevelt coach Brian Camello sized it up. "When she's playing well and we aren't, that's a bad combination for us," he said.