Pearl City's Tina Questal hit this ball as Moanalua's Patti Hardimon and Pearl City's Chalice Kaapuni watched last night at Radford. Questal had six kills in the loss.

Moanalua moves
into OIA final

The Menehunes end Pearl City's
unbeaten season and will face
Kahuku for the league title

Kahuku 2, Kalani 0

By Cindy Luis

They used to be rivals in the West Division of the Oahu Interscholastic Association. Moanalua may have moved over to the East, but the intensity is still there when it comes to playing Pearl City.

Last night's meeting meant a berth in next week's OIA girls volleyball championship match. It was doubly sweet for Moanalua as the Menehunes ended top-seeded Pearl City's undefeated season 15-6, 12-15, 15-7.

Moanalua (11-1) faces defending OIA champion Kahuku next Thursday at the Stan Sheriff Center for the OIA title and the league's top seed into the state tournament. In the other semifinal last night, Kahuku (11-2) defeated East rival Kalani for the second time this season, 15-11, 15-6.

Pearl City (11-1) plays Kalani (10-2) in the 2:30 p.m. third-place match next Thursday.

The key for the Menehunes was tough serving, attacking the Chargers' normally solid passing game. The tone was set early in Game 1 as junior Resina Nataniela served for 11 consecutive points, rallying the Menehunes from a 4-6 deficit to a 15-6 win.

"Resina's serve is her strength," said Moanalua coach Sheri Sagayaga. "She's worked on that and tonight she served real well."

"I just think about keeping the ball in," said Nataniela, who had four of the team's seven aces. "This feels good and we're proud of ourselves. We're still rivals and it's a big win. The important thing is we played as a team."

Pearl City's team strengths -- serve receive and passing -- were missing in action for most of the night. Running the offense became a difficult task for senior setter Jillan Soria.

"If our passing had been there, it would have been closer," said Pearl City coach Stephanie Shota. "Our serve receive is usually better. I don't think our team was thinking about our undefeated season. We knew we had to come out and play hard.

"Moanalua is a tough team and we know that. They didn't do anything we didn't expect."

What was unexpected was that Moanalua did quite a bit of its scoring with standout Patti Hardimon in the back row. The senior hitter finished with 12 kills, four in the deciding Game 3, and was particularly effective on the stepout move she's been perfecting for the past three years.

"I've been working on my slide and my setter (senior Ashley Gandauli) is really good at getting me the ball out there.

"I think we could have played a little better tonight, but it's a good win for us. Going into Game 3, we talked about making them make mistakes. That's the key. That and playing as a team. As long as we play our game, it doesn't matter who we play."

Sophomore Danie Hout added seven kills for Moanalua. Pearl City was led by junior Tina Questal's six kills.

Kahuku's Lesina Funaki tried to get the ball past Kalani's Charly Sampaga last night at Radford.

Kahuku 2, Kalani 0: Passing. Passing. Passing. It's what the Red Raiders worked on following their losses to Moanalua and Farrington this season.

"We worked on strictly passing, gave up hitting for a while in practice," said Kahuku coach Mona Ah-Hoy. "The last night we played them, it was pretty much like it was tonight. We wanted to key on Tamari (Miyashiro) and we did a good job.

"And Alberta (Fotu) had her normal game, being a vacuum back there on defense and serving tough. She holds the ace record on the team."

Fotu had five aces for the night and served for the final seven points of Game 2.

"We've really worked on the passing," said Fotu. "Our goal was to win the league. Moanalua will be tough, they're a good team. We'll have to play our best."

Kalani coach Tehani Miyashiro had hoped for a different outcome.

"I think we could have played better," said the former University of Hawaii setter. "I thought Kahuku looked pretty good. We fought hard but we lost the momentum that we had in the beginning. It just stopped."

Kahuku wasn't able to completely shut down Tamari Miyashiro, the coach's younger sister. The sophomore outside hitter finished with a match-high 15 kills.

For Kahuku, junior Musie Olevao put down a team-high 10 kills. The Red Raiders also got strong blocking up front with senior Mona Ale and Lesina Funaki each coming up with three blocks.

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