HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Mike Burley / email@example.com
Sarah Palmer of Hawaii Baptist went to her knees for a dig yesterday in the Eagles' 26-28, 25-15, 25-14 victory over Maryknoll.
Hawaii Baptist rallies past scrappy Maryknoll
For a good part of the afternoon, a Spartan conquest seemed inevitable.
Instead, the Hawaii Baptist Eagles woke up in time to repel the Maryknoll Spartans 26-28, 25-15, 25-14 before a home crowd of about 150.
C'era Oliveira and Sarah Palmer led the charge against the visitors. Oliveira struggled early but finished with a team-high 18 kills (.306) and Palmer added 12 kills (.367) and consistent defense.
HBA improved to 6-1 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. The only loss was against No. 1 Kamehameha earlier in the week.
Elissa Ji paced Maryknoll (5-3) with 20 kills (.267). Kendal Kagawa chipped in with five kills and Michele LaPorte had a match-high 21 assists to go with three kills.
"She's a really good attacker," HBA coach Myles Shioji said of Ji. "A good team player. Encourages her teammates."
The match was a marathon of long rallies and defensive gems. Christina Chun sparked Maryknoll's back-row defense, and Kelly Chang came through for the Eagles, who misfired often early on.
"Maryknoll keeps everybody honest. They're a complementary kind of team," Shioji said. "They outplayed us in that first game. They controlled the tempo."
In the first game, the lead had already changed hands six times when HBA took a 26-25 lead on a kill by Palmer. However, Ji caught fire and delivered three kills in a row, the last play initiated by a key dig by Chun.
HBA hit .128 and committed seven hitting errors in the game.
"Coach said to settle down and focus on each play," Oliveira said. "Our communication, we were kind of silent, so people would take the ball when they weren't supposed to. We're getting better at it, but sometimes when it's bad, we get silent."
Maryknoll's momentum - and a hearty following of fans - cooled quickly in the second game. The Spartans, who hit .294 in the opening game, hit just .029 in Game 2.
"The breakdown was on our game plan," Maryknoll coach Lee Lamb said. "We schemed on our serving and got away from that. You can't take anything away from HBA. They scramble well and get to every ball."
Those serving difficulties helped HBA take control of the second game. An 8-6 lead turned into a 21-8 advantage.
For Maryknoll, a team that pushed Punahou to three sets recently, the details are extremely important.
"For us, it's about establishing your serve. Our system is kind of limited, but it's about funneling (HBA's) offense. They're a great passing team," Lamb added.
HBA's roll continued into the third game. An ace by Kayla Kawamura got the Eagles started on an 11-4 run. Five of those points came on Maryknoll hitting and serving errors.
The Spartans pulled within 13-8 after a pair of kills by the left-handed Kagawa, but Oliveira hammered three more kills to help HBA open a 22-12 lead en route to victory.
"The girls know that every team is coming after them," Shioji said. "If they just weather the initial storm, we'll be OK."
Palmer's consistency was valuable on a day when Oliveira was hot and cold.
"She knows when to bomb the ball, but when she doesn't have a good set, she'll control it," Shioji noted.
Kawamura led HBA with 16 assists. Chelsie Mow added nine assists.
HBA finished with four aces and four serving errors. Maryknoll had two aces and seven serving miscues.
Hawaii Baptist meets St. Andrew's Priory on Tuesday in a televised match at Punahou's Hemmeter Fieldhouse. The match will begin at 5 p.m., followed by a showdown between Kamehameha and No. 2 Punahou.