HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Seabury eliminates Castle in 3
Seabury Hall didn't bring 300 Spartans to Oahu for yesterday's quarterfinal in the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II Girls State Championships against Castle. At times, it only seemed that way.
Division II Schedule
Match 5: Honokaa def. Hawaii Prep 25-17, 25-19
7: Molokai def. Farrington 25-21, 23-25, 25-16
8: Hawaii Baptist def. Waimea 25-14, 25-10
6: University def. McKinley 25-19, 25-16
9: Seabury Hall def. Castle 18-25, 25-21, 25-16
10: Word of Life def. Hilo 25-21, 27-25
11: Waimea vs. Farrington, 6 p.m.
13: Hawaii Baptist vs. Molokai, 7:30 p.m.
12: Castle vs. Hilo, 6 p.m.
14: Seabury Hall vs. Word of Life, 7:30 p.m.
Consolation championship: Honokaa vs. University, 3 p.m.
Fifth place: W-11 vs. W-12, 4:30 p.m.
Third place: L-13 vs. L-14, 6 p.m.
Championship: W-13 vs. W-14, 7:30 p.m.
The unbeaten Maui Interscholastic League champions from Makawao got seven or more kills from four players and made full use of two setters to steadily outplay the Knights for an 18-25, 25-21, 25-16 win at McKinley's Student Council Gym.
Kaimi Rocha had a match-high 11 kills, Kaipo Rocha pounded nine, Alex Bolduc had eight and Yacine Meyer added seven for the Spartans (13-0). All are 5-foot-8 or taller, but each went to the roll shot routinely to confound Castle's undersized but effective block.
Seabury takes on Interscholastic League of Honolulu runner-up Word of Life today at 7:30 p.m. at McKinley.
Castle (12-6) dropped the first game in each of its last two matches -- first to qualify for the state tournament, then to advance to the quarterfinals -- and found ways to win. The tables were turned on the Knights last night, despite the best efforts of their crafty setter, Kelsie Bajet.
Castle jumped out to a 12-3 lead in Game 1, knocking the Spartans off-balance. Four different Knights notched aces, and Castle held on despite landing only four kills from that point.
Seabury coach Scottie Zucco knew his team simply had to settle in; the Spartans hadn't been away from Maui all season.
"I'm like, 'Hey, we gotta loosen up and start playing volleyball,' " Zucco said. "Eyebrows were turned down, and we weren't communicating well. But we made the adjustments and ultimately we relaxed."
The Spartans started taking an indirect approach to storming the Castle defense -- namely, rolling shots over the block.
"I think it was just such a big tournament for all of us here, we were nervous at the start," Kaimi Rocha said. "We have a lot of good players on our team, and when one can't perform her best somebody else always take care of it."
The Spartans responded with a fluid attack in Game 2. Seabury survived five straight attack errors late and Bolduc slammed her sixth kill off the Knights' block to even things at a game apiece.
In the deciding game, the Spartans went on a 14-5 run to turn a 9-9 stalemate into a 23-14 advantage, with each of the Rochas, Bolduc and Meyer all factors.
"I think, inside everybody thought we had the game (early)," said Bajet, the Knights' do-it-all setter/hitter, who had team highs in kills (seven), blocks (two), assists (10) and an ace. "Everything we did (well) in the first set, we didn't work in the second set. In the third set, we couldn't come back, inside mentally."
Her older brother, coach Brannan Bajet, couldn't coax a duplicate effort from his Knights from their comeback effort over University High on Wednesday. In that game, the Jr. Bows' star hitter Brennan Clark pounded 27 kills in the loss.