Waianae forces OIA rematch


POSTED: Friday, May 08, 2009

As soon as Roosevelt beat Waianae in the OIA Red Division semifinals on Tuesday night, coach Kaui Mendonca was concerned about a possible rematch. He knew that the Seariders, stinging from their first loss of the season, would be itching for another shot at eighth-ranked Roosevelt.

“;It's hard to beat a team twice,”; Mendonca said with a frown on Tuesday as his team celebrated the win.

Turns out, Mendonca had reason to worry. Because in the emotional OIA Red championship game at McKinley High School yesterday, the Seariders and Rough Riders endured an intense roller-coaster rematch that ended with a wild Waianae victory (17-25, 25-21, 30-32, 26-24, 15-12). It was a heated match that saw every spike greeted with a shout, every dig given a smirk as if to say it was easy, every rally leaving bodies on the floor and every point fought for with a desperation befitting a state title game.

With the win, Waianae forced a winner-take-all game tomorrow, thanks to the OIA double-elimination playoff format. The game—the third in five days between these two teams—will be at McKinley High School at 10 a.m.

In Game 1, Roosevelt (14-1) looked very much like the class of the OIA. The Rough Riders took the lead on the first serve and never relinquished it.

But Waianae (14-1) is ranked fifth in the state for a reason. And the Seariders jumped all over Roosevelt early and kept the Rough Riders' high-powered offense off balance with tough serves. Waianae ended Roosevelt's hopes with an ace, its fourth of the game, and a hard spike to earn the Game 2 victory.

Game 3 got interesting after 6-foot-7 Roosevelt outside hitter Kenneth Rewick knotted the score at 24-24. The teams traded blow for blow as the intensity grew in the hot gym. Roosevelt's first game point was thwarted when Kainoa Mitchell hit the ball into the net. Waianae's first game point was thwarted when Aaron Fogatu spiked an easy overpass out of bounds.

Roosevelt seemed to have the game won at 28-26 when a Joby Ramos serve was ruled inbounds by the line judge. But the game's lead official overruled the call—despite the ball being on the far side of the court—and the set was extended.

Finally, two straight Rewick kills had the McKinley gym rocking as Roosevelt eked out the third game.

In the fourth game, Waianae was two points from extending the match to a fifth and final set, but two quick kills by Aris Wong brought Roosevelt to a 23-22 deficit. Wong's block on the next point knotted the score, but Waianae's tip kill gave the Seariders a game point. After trading sideouts, Robinson's hard kill forced a fifth and deciding set.

And Robinson took over midway in the fifth game, using his strong right arm to carry his Seariders. He finished with a match-high 30 kills, setting up a what promises to be an exciting OIA Red Division championship match on Saturday.


Moanalua 3, Waipahu 1

All season long, Moanalua coach Doug Hee has used freshman Kolby Katanabe as a server and a back-row setter. Not once has he run out of substitutions and been forced to leave the diminutive rookie in the front row.

And so of course, with the score knotted at 23-all in the fourth set of the OIA White Division championship game against Waipahu yesterday at McKinley High School, Hee ran out of substitutions and was forced to leave Katanabe, generously listed at 5-foot-4 and 117 pounds, in the front row.

Though both Hee and Katanabe admitted to being nervous with the freshman in the front row, the rookie responded with a huge kill and another nice cut shot as Moanalua survived its early struggles to win the fourth game 26-24, clinching a 29-31, 25-16, 25-16, 26-24 victory and an OIA White Division title.

“;This is unreal right now,”; said senior Kwong Frankie, who was so ecstatic with the victory he shook hands with every referee and every scorekeeper in the gym. “;I'm so happy. I don't know how to explain it. It feels so good to win. We wanted this really badly. It was a team effort.”;