Mililani's Scott Neumann blitzed Waipahu for nine kills in the OIA playoffs at McKinley last night.

Mililani rallies
past Waipahu

The Mililani Trojans struggled just to make the Oahu Interscholastic Association boys volleyball playoffs. Now everyone else is struggling to beat them.

Scott Neumann put down a team-high nine kills to lead the Trojans (8-4) to a thrilling upset of the West's top-seeded Waipahu Marauders 16-25, 25-17, 25-17 last night at McKinley.

The win not only advances the Trojans to Saturday's OIA semifinals, but also clinches a berth in the upcoming HHSAA state tournament Nov. 10-13 on the Big Island.

"These boys have practiced so hard all season," Trojans head coach John Ing said. "Game 1 was a big letdown, but they showed their true heart in coming back."

Early on, it looked as if the Marauders (9-2) were going to live up to their billing as the top seed. Arthur Fanene had five of his game-high 13 kills in Game 1 as the Marauders jumped out to an early 12-4 lead and were never challenged in taking Game 1.

"Waipahu's a tough team, but we knew we couldn't give up even if we were getting smoked," Neumann said. "We knew we had to come back."

Neumann led the Trojans charge, putting down their first kill of Game 2 to begin Mililani's comeback. With the score knotted at five, Kevin Carvalho served seven straight points for the Trojans, capping off the run with an ace to force Waipahu coach Julna Pasicarin to call a timeout.

"We changed up some things after the first game to try to disrupt their offense," Ing said.

The Marauders managed to claw back to make it 22-17, but Neumann's fourth kill of the game was sandwiched between two Marauders hitting errors to close out Game 2.

"Scott's my first four-year player and we needed him to step up," Ing said. "He showed leadership out there and the boys followed him."

"We just needed to cut down on our mistakes," Neumann added.

The decisive Game 3 went back and forth with both teams struggling on offense. The game's turning point came with the Trojans leading 9-8 as a long rally -- which saw the Marauders' Pioliula Falaniko nearly put down a kill from his knees -- ended with a solo block by Brandon Lenchanko that fired up the entire Mililani team.

"That felt so good," Lenchanko said. "We pulled it together when we needed too."

"Brandon's block was huge," Ing added. "Volleyball is a game of momentum and that block really gave us the advantage."

The Trojans scored seven of the next eight points and Carvalho's only kill of the game clinched the upset.

"We knew we hadn't played our best volleyball all season," Neumann said. "I just try my best to be a leader and keep the team together and we did it."

Kalaheo def. Pearl City: Elias David's 14th kill punctuated Kalaheo's 26-24, 28-26 victory over the Pearl City Chargers (8-4) in last night's other OIA boys quarterfinal match at McKinley.

"Elias played tremendously for us, especially in crucial situations," Mustangs head coach Sivan Leoni said. "It was really intense on both sides and I'm just really happy for this team that they were able to pull out the victory."

The Mustangs also clinched a berth in the state tournament with the win and kept their undefeated season alive at 11-0.

"We know the playoffs are our time and with the rest of the games being on TV and lots of people coming out to watch, it's going to be some real exciting stuff," Leoni said.



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