Roosevelt cruises into OIA quarters


POSTED: Friday, October 09, 2009

They weren't running on all cylinders, but the Roosevelt Rough Riders didn't have to.

Roosevelt got 14 kills from Taylor Pupuhi and delivered seven aces to sweep Radford 25-18, 25-19, 25-21 last night in the opening round of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red playoffs at Farrington's Richard Kitamura Fieldhouse.

The Rough Riders will take on Moanalua on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. From that point, the tournament is a double-elimination format. Radford's season is over.

“;It's all about who wanted it the most,”; first-year Radford coach Candice Fujiwara said. “;We have a young team and, honestly, we fought hard to the end, but Roosevelt just wanted it more.”;

The Rams, the Red West's fifth-place team, seemed a bit nervous. Kaeli Patton led Radford with eight kills, but struggled with the rest of her team with accuracy. The Rams hit .067 for the match (15 errors) and had no aces with nine service errors.

Roosevelt (5-8), the fourth-place squad from the East, had some concerns, too.

“;Coach (Rudy Sambrano) said not to look in the stands,”; Pupuhi said. “;I'm surprised I wasn't nervous.”;

Pupuhi stepped up big, hitting .417 and serving tough with two aces. Senior Natasha Kolo was also clutch with eight kills, while sophomore Jasmine Fujimoto added five kills and two aces.

Samantha Sakata had 19 assists and Janelle Lubong tallied 16 dishes for Roosevelt.

On a sweltering, muggy night, Roosevelt opened the match with a 7-1 run, but big hitter Kawai Oleole struggled with her accuracy and Radford rallied. With Oleole off her game, reserve Zoe Young entered and gave her team five kills in just seven swings. The Rams tied it at 14, but hitting errors did them in.

Maggie Malepeai had two of her team's four kills in the second set, and the Rams were within 15-11 after a block by Andrea Hinkle. However, Roosevelt managed four aces in the set, including two by Pupuhi, and used an 8-1 run to break the game open.

In the third set, Radford took its first lead of the match, 4-3, on an error by Roosevelt, but the Rough Riders scored the next six points and never looked back. Radford was within 17-14 on another block by Malepeai, but got no closer than two points the rest of the way.

Malepeai added five kills and Hinkle had four for Radford.

Moanalua swept Roosevelt during the regular season.

“;They crushed us, but if we play like this and minimize our errors, we have a strong chance to win,”; Kolo said.


Farrington 3, Leilehua 0

In the late match, Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo smashed seven kills and four of her team's 10 aces as the Govs (9-4) advanced to the quarterfinals with a 25-8, 25-16, 25-12 sweep. Fenumiai Tofilau had nine kills, Fraustina Sagapolu slammed five aces and senior Brandy Vergado-Duclayan dished 28 assists with five kills.

Farrington will meet Pearl City in Tuesday's quarterfinals at Moanalua.

Chelsea Braginsky-Ahloo led Leilehua with seven kills.

Janell Nance, a 6-foot-2 senior, added five kills for Farrington, which hit .391 (eight errors). Coach Reagan Agena still wants more from his team, which committed 11 service errors.

“;I've told them, this could be the greatest story never told,”; he said.