RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kalani's Dara Waialae hit past Roosevelt's Shellane Ogoshi during last night's first game at Kalani High.
Kalani to victory
A touch of the flu prevented Tamari Miyashiro from going the distance last night when she and her Kalani teammates put the clamps on Roosevelt in a battle of volleyball unbeatens.
But the 5-7 junior outside hitter left no doubt afterward that she was plainly the difference in the Falcons' 22-25, 25-20, 15-7 win.
"(Kalani) Coach (Aven Lee) told us that she (Miyashiro) probably wouldn't play tonight, so we had to look to ourselves to get through this one, but she came in the game and surprised us," Kalani setter Marisa Okamoto said. "She brought a lot of energy onto the court when she came in, and that was big."
Kalani improved to 4-0 to remain in first place in the Oahu Interscholastic Association's Eastern Conference.
Roosevelt (3-1) pressed the issue early on, and even after Miyashiro entered the match (with the Rough Riders leading 15-7 in Game 1), the momentum stayed with the visitors. Kalani was also without the services of middle blocker Keri Hee, who was held out of action with a mild ankle sprain.
"We rely a lot on our passing and our defense and it wasn't there from the start, and that worried me," Lee said. "We needed to make a few adjustments on defense -- we needed to play a little deeper.
"I wanted to get Tamari some rest, but as everybody saw, we needed her and we had to rely heavily on her tonight," continued Lee. "That's not the way I want it to be, but that's what we had to do. It's nice to know that we can come back when we're down."
Added Miyashiro, who finished with a match-high 16 kills: "Inside I always have the feeling that we can catch up, but they were digging our balls everywhere, and it got sloppier and sloppier as the game went on. I wasn't planning on playing. I just watched practice on Monday and Tuesday, and they (her teammates) worked their butts off. But once I got in, we kind of just went with what was working."
Kalani trailed 19-13 in Game 2 before Miyashiro ripped a kill just inside the line that began an amazing run that would see her account for eight of her team's last 11 tallies in that encounter.
She continued to pour it on in the decisive third game, scoring two of the Falcons' first three points as they moved out to a 5-1 lead. Roosevelt closed to within 6-4, but Miyashiro came up big again, this time by way of a timely dig on a vicious hit by the Rough Riders' Miya Frank that was eventually recycled into a point for Kalani. The sequence pumped even more life into the Falcons, who were aided by six Roosevelt errors to win Game 3 going away.
"Over the past couple of seasons, it's been the Tamari show here," Roosevelt coach Bryan Camello said. "She's a great player, and you have to give her all of the credit. That's Kalani's strength, and they were the better team tonight."
Junior outside hitter Kristen Tanabe led Roosevelt with seven kills, five of which came in Game 1, while senior middle blocker Melissa Aki finished the night with five kills and six blocks.