Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, November 3, 2001


Kahuku deals Kalani
first loss, wins OIA

By Cindy Luis

The crowd noise was hard enough to block out - but not as hard as the thoughts that the championship was literally in her hands.

Krisha Kai managed to focus on the task at hand, just getting her serve over the net. The Kahuku junior did just that, serving the final seven points of the match as the Red Raiders stunned previously undefeated Kalani 15-10, 15-6 to win the Oahu Interscholastic Association girls volleyball title last night at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The win gives the Red Raiders (10-2) the league's top seed in the state tournament. Kalani (12-1), which had defeated Kahuku in three sets during the regular season, will get the OIA's second seed.

"I expected this outcome," said Kahuku coach Mona Afalava Ah Hoy. "Our girls were hungry. They wanted revenge.

"Our defense finally kicked. Krisha had been struggling with her serve. We told her 'Nothing hard, just get the ball in.' "

At 8-6 in Game 2, Kai became entrenched on the back line through two Kalani timeouts and the nerves that came with the possibility of an upset. With members of the Kahuku state football team in the stands behind cheering loudly, Kai took it one serve at a time.

"We really wanted this," Kai said. "I knew I had to stay focused."

Kahuku's defense was also focused, out-digging Kalani 49-35. The Red Raiders also focused on the Falcons' top hitter, freshman Tamari Miyashiro.

Miyashiro finished with 14 kills but hit .100. She hit long to give Kahuku match point and on the next play, Kahuku's Grace George and Tuli Peters camped out on the left side for a match-ending stuff of Miyashiro.

"We were going to key on Tamari," said Ah Hoy. "Our blockers did a good job."

Peters was impressive at the net on both offense and defense. She finished with 15 kills, hitting .400, with 11 digs. Nicole Po'uha added 7 kills, while George added 10 digs and 3 blocks.

"We didn't play our game," said first-year Kalani coach Tehani Miyashiro, the older sister of Tamari. "We did not play half as good as we normally do.

"But I think this was a good loss, even if it did come in the final. Every team needs to be humbled and take a look at themselves in order to get better. We still get to go to the state tournament and we know what we need to work on, playing our game."

Part of the Falcons' game plan was not falling behind. But Kalani did, in both Games 1 and 2. Kahuku jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Game 1 and 4-0 in Game 2.

In Game 1, the Falcons rallied to within 7-6 and 10-8. Two lift calls, two kills by George and a pair of kills by Peters gave Kahuku its first game-point.

The Falcons closed to 14-10, but Lefina Funaki ended it with an ace.

In Game 2, Kalani rallied to within 8-6, but the momentum - and the bounces - went Kahuku's way. On Kai's first serve, a dig by Peters hit the tape, got the net roll and dropped down on Kalani's side for a point.

Six serves later, Kahuku's football team serenaded the volleyball players, finishing it off with an inspiring "Haka." (Maori war chant.)

Kahuku hit .333 as a team, with only 8 hitting errors. Kalani, with 15 errors, hit .155.

Marisa Okamoto added 10 kills and 10 digs for the Falcons.

In the third-place game, Pearl City defeated Waianae 15-6, 15-3.

The junior varsity girls title went to Moanalua, which rallied past Waianae 7-15, 15-12, 15-13.

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