HBA soars past No. 1 'Iolani


POSTED: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's never been a question of faith for the Hawaii Baptist Eagles.

Eagles coach Teoni Obrey says it's all about ferocity, as the No. 1-ranked 'Iolani Raiders learned last night. HBA was composed and clutch when it mattered most, riding 12 kills by Ryan Leung for a stunning 27-25, 18-25, 25-19 upset win at Dan Liu Gym.

“;Coach said today we proved we're the best team in the state,”; said Leung, a 6-foot-4 junior. “;We plan to beat all the other teams.”;

It was possibly the biggest win ever in the program's history, knocking off a team that had upset previously top-ranked Punahou just days ago.

“;We wanted to make a statement, definitely. When 'Iolani beat Punahou, that fired us up more,”; Obrey said, noting that his team had lost twice to the Raiders in preseason tournaments.

HBA, ranked third in the Star-Bulletin Boys Volleyball Top 10, improved to 8-1 as first-round play ended in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. Division II Hawaii Baptist, a school of roughly 400 students, will diet on a menu of small-school opponents for the rest of the ILH season. Just getting to the point of developing a killer instinct was one thing. Beating 'Iolani for the first time since 2000 was simply monumental.

“;We always say that we're trying to play to win, to be aggressive,”; said Obrey, an 'Iolani graduate whose brother Kainoa was on the last 'Iolani team that lost to HBA. “;They kept their poise.”;

Kyle Barretta, a 6-foot-7 senior, was one of the clutch performers. He had all six of his blocks in the third set and also tallied four kills. Brandon Kaneshiro added seven kills and West Hatae delivered three of his four kills in the final game.

HBA was at its best in the third game, hitting .333 with only one hitting error. 'Iolani hit .139 in the third and couldn't stifle Hatae, who is primarily a passer. Sophomore Nathan Le added three kills and two blocks.

HBA hit .358 for the match, committing only eight errors.

Mistakes plagued the visiting Raiders through key stretches. They committed 18 hitting errors and hit .242. 'Iolani had 12 service errors and just two aces.

“;We've gotten away with wins even when we've played like this,”; coach Mike Among said. “;You can't do it against a team like HBA. They're so well coached and scrappy. Coach Teoni gets the most out of his players.”;

David Fink led 'Iolani (10-2) with 10 kills. Logan Nowack dished 28 assists, but moved to outside hitter late in the match and had two kills. Taylor Donovan (eight kills), Nick Christman (seven) and Chris Llarenas (five) bolstered a balanced, if erratic, offensive attack.

The visitors were particularly generous in the opening set with six service errors. HBA led 14-10, but nearly let the set slip away. Donovan hit consecutive kills from the right side to give 'Iolani a 25-24 lead, but after an HBA timeout, the Raiders had a serving error and two hitting errors to give their hosts the set.

'Iolani regrouped in Set 2 and got a pair of aces from Fink to open a 23-17 lead en route to victory.

HBA clung to an 11-10 lead in the final set when Barretta had two roofs to spark a 5-1 run. 'Iolani got no closer than four points the rest of the way.