HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Kahuku girls subdue Moanalua
Power plus persistence equaled victory on the road for the Kahuku Red Raiders.
Nile Te'o slammed 12 kills and hustled for three digs as fourth-ranked Kahuku outlasted sixth-ranked Moanalua 25-23, 22-25, 25-15, 25-16 last night in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red opener for both teams.
"They're a really good team," Moanalua coach Tommy Lake said. "They're solid at all the positions."
Te'o, younger sister of former Kahuku football standout Shiloah Te'o, never let down against a resilient Moanalua defense. Kahuku's rotation of big middles, led by senior Alyssa Wily, combined for most of the 13 roofs racked up against smaller Na Menehune.
Kahuku came into the match with six returning starters, but had size and depth to boot.
"At any time, we can go to the bench. We're fortunate to have a deep bench," coach Uila Fotu-Vendiola said. "Nile played with confidence."
Wily, the best jumper among the middles, stuffed seven Moanalua attempts and added nine kills. Backup Amanda Tonga tallied seven kills, three roofs and two service aces. Setter Elizabeth Blake finished with 31 assists.
Their presence at the net solidified a solid effort on a warm night in Moanalua's gym. Kaylee Ponce amassed 11 kills and Carsen Mata tallied 10 kills and 17 assists to lead Na Menehune. Michelle Hardy delivered 18 assists and had three digs for Moanalua.
It was a rematch of a battle played at Kamehameha's tourney on Saturday (also won by Kahuku), and Moanalua's relative inexperience showed.
"We were a little nervous. We just gotta be more composed," Lake said, referring to a number of double hits. "Defensively, we tried to do too much."
Kahuku's serve, particularly with Te'o back, got tougher over the course of the match. "We didn't pressure them enough on serving," Lake said.
Both coaches are happy with the new best-of-five format, which made the match a 2-hour event instead of the usual 60 or 90 minutes.
"It's good. It's definitely a marathon, not a sprint," Lake said.
In the opening game, Moanalua led 17-16 before two bad sets allowed the visitors to go on a 7-0 run. Te'o and Wily combined for four kills as Kahuku took a 23-17 lead and hung on to take the game.
In the second game, Na Menehune rallied from a 10-5 deficit for a 19-14 lead thanks to some ill-timed Kahuku hitting errors and net violations. Kahuku rallied to tie the game at 22-all, but reserve middle hitter Latricia Taifane and Lahela Kaili-Laroya each pounded a kill to help Moanalua tie the match.
Kahuku trailed 15-14 in the third game when Tonga crushed three kills and had a roof to spark an 11-0 run.
The Lady Raiders used a 10-1 run midway through the fourth game to take control of the match.