Hawaii Baptist rolls through D-II
POSTED: Sunday, May 17, 2009
The Hawaii Baptist Academy boys volleyball team wanted to make an early statement in yesterday's Division II state championship game against Hilo.
The Eagles knew that the Big Island team is a scrappy squad that thrives in an emotional, scrambling game.
So on the first point of the HHSAA state championship match, HBA senior setter Matthew Lui sent a perfect set to the outside, to the swinging right arm of Ryan Leung. The 6-foot-3 junior responded with a resounding kill, bringing the team's bench to its feet immediately.
"I count on him to put the ball away, all the time," Lui said after the match.
That emphatic kill set the tone for the Division II title game, which fittingly ended with a Leung ace to seal an easy 25-16, 25-18, 25-13 championship at McKinley High School. The title is the second in a row for top-seeded Hawaii Baptist (19-1). Both championships came against Hilo.
The title match was never in doubt thanks to Leung's domination. The junior finished with a match-high 17 kills on 24 swings. He committed only two hitting errors, and he also tossed in three aces.
In contrast, the Vikings mustered a meager 25 kills in the three-set match while committing 18 hitting errors.
"I knew Ryan was going to be a problem because he touches so high and he has an unorthodox swing," said Hilo coach Hoku Harvest. "He has no fear in what he's doing. He's an excellent all-around player. He knows the game really well."
All match long, whenever Hilo found even the slightest bit of momentum, Leung quickly shut down any potential rallies.
In Game 1, with HBA struggling a bit early and working hard for a 10-6 lead, Leung quickly turned that into a 17-10 advantage with three kills and one ace in the next 11 points.
In the second set, as Hilo erased a huge deficit by scoring seven of eight points, Leung's hard kill from the right side ended the run and ruined Hilo's hopes of tying the match.
"Every time we need a point, he's the go-to guy," Lui said.
As the Eagles were cruising to their second straight title, Leung put the exclamation point on the match with a one-on-one, stuffed block on Hilo star Kaulana Kalauli-Rowe, the reigning Big Island Division II Player of the Year, who was frustrated all night long.
"I've been feeling pretty confident this whole entire tournament because Lui's been giving me really nice sets and everyone can put away Lui's sets," Leung said.
And when Leung ended the match with an ace, it capped a complete Hawaii Baptist effort that coach Teoni Obrey claimed was his team's best match of the season. The Eagles committed only seven total hitting errors in three sets and hit .507 in the match. They had just six service errors. They trailed just once in the entire match, at 2-3 in the first game.
It was a championship match that couldn't have been scripted any better for HBA.
"We were always looking for that best match, that best game," Obrey said as his team celebrated the championship. "Our servers hit their spots. We served the guys we wanted to serve. We got the matchups that we wanted. We played disciplined defense. The whole entire year, we've been searching for that perfect game. We didn't play the perfect game, but we played pretty close to it."
» Brandon Kaneshiro, OH, Hawaii Baptist
» Kaulana Kalauli-Rowe, OH, Hilo
» Andrew Welsh, MB, Hilo
» Isaiah Ekau, OH, Pahoa
» Josh Chapple, MB, Seabury Hall
» Matthew Lui, S, Hawaii Baptist
» Tyler Oshiro, DS, Moanalua
Most Outstanding Player
» Ryan Leung, OH, Hawaii Baptist
Hawaii Baptist def. Hilo
25-16, 25-18, 25-13
Key—g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists.
Aces—Hilo (5): Welsh 2, Mata, Moana Falero, Sunada. Hawaii Baptist (6): Leung 3, Oka, Luio, Kaneshiro. Assists—Hilo (24): Sunada 15, Kalauli-Rowe 8, Toriano. Hawaii Baptist (40): Lui 33, Matsui 4, Kaneshiro, Iseri, Barretta.