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Kaiser goes long for OIA White title


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POSTED: Friday, October 23, 2009

Madison Pedone and Nikki Taylor combined for 37 kills as Kaiser outlasted Castle 25-12, 25-17, 23-25, 19-25, 15-12 to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference title last night at McKinley Student Council Gym.

Kaiser (13-3) finished third in the White East during the regular season, but continued to improve and went through the postseason tourney unbeaten.

Castle (12-5) swept both regular-season meetings with Kaiser, but the Cougars won a tourney game on Tuesday in five sets.

Castle, the White East second-place team, would have forced a winner-take-all match tomorrow with a win yesterday. The Knights almost did it with a hearty rally, but tired in the fifth set.

“;They played a tough match last night,”; Kaiser coach Ernest Noborikawa said. The Knights beat Kailua on Wednesday to advance to last night's championship.

Pedone, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, led the Cougars with 19 kills and added two aces. Taylor, a 6-2 freshman, had 18 kills, including four in the final set.

“;We pulled together even though everybody got tired,”; Taylor said.

A boisterous crowd of about 1,000 watched in sultry conditions. Kaiser needed balance to counter the great defensive play of the smaller Knights.

Sophomore Haley Durham and senior Arianna Ondo added eight kills each, and senior middle Sarah Epstein had six kills, six aces and two blocks. Epstein was still jumping high in that final game.

“;We wanted so badly to get a banner for our gym. We've never gotten one for volleyball to my knowledge,”; she said. “;My adrenaline was driving me.”;

Sophomore setter Jolie Au dished out 53 assists.

Joshell Lilio led Castle with 17 kills and two blocks. Erika Jarrett added 13 kills, while Kuulei Lynch (seven kills), Tiare Kalapodes (six kills, 11 assists) and Malie Garcia (six kills) chipped in. Jaylene Royos had a team-high 23 assists.

Four service errors by Castle in Set 5 were key. The Knights had just three service miscues combined in the third and fourth sets.

“;Maybe the games before this wore them out,”; coach Brannan Bajet said, adding that he was proud of their comeback after being dominated in the first two games. “;It was all determination and the will to get to a fifth set. It's all up to these girls. They know what to do.”;

After avoiding a sweep by nudging past the Cougars in the third set, Castle gained momentum and used four aces to win the fourth. The final set was close all the way despite Castle's serving problems.

Kaiser broke a 9-all tie with three consecutive points, including kills by Pedone and Taylor, and never trailed again.

An uncontested kill by Taylor from the left side and a kill by Ondo closed out the 2-hour, 10-minute match.

Kaiser hit .337 and added 11 aces with only eight service errors. Castle hit .299, including no hitting errors in the final two sets, but committed 12 service errors to go with five aces.