HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mililani's Olivia Freitas went up for a kill during the first set against Radford last night. The Trojans won in four games to remain undefeated in league play.
Mililani’s block too tough for Rams
She is prep volleyball's version of the "Big O."
Olivia Freitas, a 5-foot-11 senior, was every bit as dominant as the original Big O (Oscar Robertson) as No. 9 Mililani rallied past Radford 22-25, 25-13, 25-9, 25-20 last night at the Trojans' gym.
Mililani improved to 4-0 and will take on unbeaten Aiea tomorrow in a key Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West showdown.
Freitas teamed with Pomai Grube-Hose, Dayna Meikle, Janine Orosco and Candace Soares to create a big wall at the net for the visiting Rams. Radford, which rallied from a 9-1 deficit to win the first game, struggled in the final three.
The Rams found it tough to hit past Freitas, often settling for tips and dink shots. They found little success, committing 15 hitting errors in the final three games for a .103 hitting percentage.
It was a resounding turnaround for the home team.
"Our energy level was super high. We were pumped up. We were ready," Freitas said.
The lanky middle blocker noticed a change in Radford's approach after the opening game.
"Their hitting errors had to do with our block. I know how Radford is, really competitive, going after everything, but all they were doing was tip-ins," Freitas said.
Radford coach Kahala Kabalis saw her team slip to 1-3 in league play.
"The energy level, it was an ultimate high. Our enthusiasm in the first game was up," she said. "The unforced errors took away from that."
Soares finished with 12 kills after getting none in five swings during the opening set.
In the second game, Soares had four kills and Freitas had two blocks to lead the way. Four hitting errors by Radford during Mililani's 9-0 run pushed the Trojans ahead 16-9. Mililani hit .391 during the set to win easily.
The Trojans dominated the third set. Mariah Choo hit two of her team's five aces and Soares hammered five more kills (in just seven attempts) as Mililani bolted to an 18-5 lead and was never challenged.
Radford battled back in the fourth set and was within 7-5 after three errors by Mililani, but Soares had two kills and a roof to spark the Trojans.
An ace by Rachel Kapesi brought the Rams within 19-16, but Soares drilled an ace, and Freitas dropped in three more to help Mililani go on a 5-1 run.
Radford was down to eight eligible players. One player is out with an injury and another is on academic probation. Kabalis, however, was baffled by her team's hitting woes.
"We had to deal with a big block, but we should be used to it," she said. "You hit around it, you use the block."
The Trojans made the most of Freitas' constant spring at the net.
"We work so much on our block to help our back row out," Mililani coach Val Crabbe said. "But we try to use it as an offense, too."
Crabbe credited trainer Sharon Kodama for giving the Trojans an extra boost. Kodama has the team on a daily workout routine with plyometrics - 20 minutes per day.