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Na Menehune roll to win


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Moanalua's Tommy Lake has a luxury most coaches would die for.

He's got a senior setter who is also one of the team's best hitters and best passers. He's got a setter who can come off the bench and run the team like the starting setter. His libero has a lively right arm and could move to outside hitter if needed. He's got middle hitters who can move to the outside. He's got outside hitters who can move to the middle. And all his players take great swings from the right side of the court. He can run a 5-1 offense or a 6-2.

It has been a successful experiment so far for Na Menehune, which improved to 4-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic Association's Red East division yesterday with an easy 25-11, 25-12 victory over McKinley, giving the visitors a regular-season sweep over the Tigers.

“;Right now I've got 10 players on the roster, and I'm using all 10 of them,”; said Moanalua coach Tommy Lake. “;It's kind of nice. Everyone is doing their role, and it's working out well for us.”;

Moanalua looked sharp in yesterday's sweep over McKinley (0-3 OIA) despite fielding a relatively young team (just two seniors in the starting lineup), despite using a number of new combinations, and despite constantly changing lineups on the floor.

Senior Carsen Mata, the team's starting setter, moved to outside hitter when she was in the front row, giving Na Menehune a 6-2 look instead of its usual 5-1 offense. Sophomore Katiana Ponce had played outside hitter in the team's preseason matches, but moved to libero for the first time against McKinley. Junior Jordan Tumaneng came off the bench as the second setter in the 6-2 lineup.

“;It's kind of cool because we all have the skills to spread out and do different things,”; said senior hitter Gabby Matautia, who finished with seven kills. “;It works.”;

Moanalua didn't miss a beat as it pounded 26 kills in the two sets and trailed on just three occasions. Mata responded with seven kills and looked impressive swinging from the left side. Ponce played solid defense as the defensive specialist. Tumaneng ran the offense perfectly, spreading the ball around as five Menehune hitters recorded kills.

“;I'm kind of lucky because we're not very big, but a lot of our girls can play a lot of different positions,”; Lake said. “;Almost all of our girls can play a little bit of middle, a little bit of left, a little bit of right. That's kind of nice because when we go out there, I can move them around a little bit.”;

Meanwhile, McKinley could never find its rhythm. The Tigers, the fifth-place team in the OIA last year, were never really in the match and had more hitting errors (11) than kills (10), more service errors (five) than aces (zero).

With the win, Moanalua sets up a rematch with Farrington tomorrow. The Governors bested Na Menehune 27-26, 26-24 in the Ann Kang Invitational at 'Iolani in late August, and Moanalua would like nothing more than to exact some revenge for that preseason defeat.

And after sprinting out to a perfect start in OIA play and performing well at last weekend's Hawaii Volleyball Invitational at Kamehameha, Na Menehune's confidence is soaring heading into the Farrington match.

“;We want them,”; Matautia said. “;We want to play them. We're excited for (tomorrow).”;