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Aiea aces out Mililani to remain unbeaten


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A win would've given Mililani a share of first place.

Instead, Na Alii of Aiea left the Trojans' gym with a 25-18, 25-23 sweep last night, reaffirming their status atop the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West.

A crowd of about 300 — nearly half in florescent green shirts and cheering relentlessly for ninth-ranked Aiea — saw Na Alii improve to 9-0. Aiea dictated much of the match with superior serving and timely hitting.

Aiea's coaching staff scouted Mililani (7-2) twice coming into the match.

“;I take that as a compliment,”; Trojans coach Val Crabbe said.

“;Shyanne (Cossey) is a great hitter and they always play great defense,”; Aiea coach Blythe Yamamoto said. “;That's what you expect from Mililani.”;

Cossey led her team with seven kills, but Crabbe subbed her out when she rotated to the back row. With Aiea's serve causing problems in Mililani's passing game, the Trojans never got into a sustained run.

Senior Melelatu Samisoni pounded nine kills to lead a balanced attack. Kelly Leopoldo had 16 assists, two kills and an ace, and Ashlei Liilii and Taylor-Marie Fetui had six kills each.

Danielle Grace and Ka'ala Leopoldo delivered two aces each as Na Alii kept the Trojans' back row off balance.

Mililani had its chance to push the match to a third set. Aiea trailed 20-17 in the second game when Yamamoto called time out.

“;Coach said to calm down,”; Grace said. “;We were frustrated.”;

Crabbe wanted her middle blocker, Grube-Hose (four kills), to shadow Samisoni. She also wanted her team to use quick sets.

“;Aiea camps out there,”; she said.

Mililani made those adjustments to an extent, but Grace's serving turned the set around. With the 5-foot-9 left-hander on the back line, Liilii got back-to-back kills to tie the set at 20-all. An ace by Grace gave Aiea the lead, and after another Mililani hitting error, a tough serve led to a bad pass and an easy kill for Fetui.

That boosted Aiea's lead to 23-20. Mililani got within 24-23 after two Aiea hitting errors, but Grace sealed the win with a kill from the back row.

“;I love the way the girls fought. They stuck together and came back,”; Yamamoto said.

Grace sent her serves to different spots during the key 6-0 run.

“;That's coach Kory (Toyozaki),”; Yamamoto said of one of her assistants. “;She's the one calling serves for us.”;

Nicole Namoca had a team-high nine digs for the Trojans.

In addition to Leopoldo, Aiea used two more setters, Kerstyn Randall and Ayanna Lindborg, in its fluid offensive attack. Randall and Lindborg had three assists each.

Aiea finished with six aces and just three service errors. Mililani had one ace and four service errors.