DIVISION II STATE BOYS VOLLEYBALL
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii Baptist's Nathan Le rejected a shot by Pahoa's Randy Balicoco in the Eagles' semifinal win last night.
HBA sets up meeting with Hilo
The inaugural split of the girls and boys volleyball seasons this high school year has made for a drawn-out six months for Hawaii Baptist.
That's how long the Eagle boys have been thinking about matching their girls, who won the Division II state title last November.
The top-seeded Eagles (12-4) will have their chance to double up, thanks to a 25-22, 25-13 win over surprising Pahoa (11-7) last night in the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II state volleyball tournament at Radford's James Alegre Gym.
HBA takes on Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Hilo in today's 7:30 p.m. title match. The second-seeded Vikings (12-4) swept BIIF rival Hawaii Prep in last night's other semifinal at Farrington, 25-7, 25-20.
Pahoa and HPA meet in the 6 p.m. third-place match.
HBA coach Teoni Obrey knows nothing of the Vikings other than he expects another tough battle out of his Big Island opponent.
"Obviously they will be tough if they could win their league and three of the (state) semifinalists are from the BIIF," Obrey said. "For us, we need to serve a little better, pass well and cut down our unforced errors."
The Eagles did just that in Game 2 after surviving several challenges by the Daggers. Junior serving specialist Ellison Iseri served for seven straight as HBA pulled away from 14-9 to 21-9.
At 21-12, Ryan Leung's 11th kill sparked a 3-0 run that gave the Eagles match point. Jonathan Viernes put down his sixth kill to pull Pahoa to 24-12, but a lift call on Lucas Dipert lifted the Eagles into the title match.
Brandon Kaneshiro added eight kills and three aces for HBA. Matthew Lui also had three aces and Kyle Barretta four kills and an ace for the Eagles.
For Pahoa, Viernes finished with six kills and Manuel Munoz three.
"Our guys gave it their all," Daggers coach Ikaika Marzo said. "We didn't expect to get this far and I'm proud of them. We made too many errors at the end.
"HBA is a heck of a team, and we know how tough Hilo will be."
In Game 1, the Eagles jumped out to early leads of 6-1 and 10-4 as the Daggers' offense stalled. Until Isaiah Ekau's kill made it 10-5, all of Pahoa's points had come on HBA serving errors.
But the Daggers, who had worked so hard to get to Oahu, weren't about to disappoint all the donors who had gotten them here. Slowly, Pahoa crept back into it, using two kills each by Viernes and Randy Balicoco to pull to 14-13.
The Daggers tied it at 18, but a kill by Barretta and an ace by Kaneshiro put the Eagles ahead for good.
"I was really impressed by their athleticism and how fired up their coach got them," Obrey said of the Daggers. "It was a good test for us."