No. 5 'Iolani grows more confident in sweep of Mid-Pacific


POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2009

If the 'Iolani girls volleyball team were ever to make a move in the ILH and join powerhouses Kamehameha and Punahou atop the league, this might be the year. Of course, the Raiders have been saying that in each of the past six seasons as those two stalwarts have dominated state championship volleyball, but the season is still young and rife with optimism.

With five seniors in the starting lineup and having already received a wake-up loss to Division II's Word of Life, 'Iolani looked like a well-oiled machine yesterday as it dismantled a Mid-Pacific Institute team, 25-17, 25-10, that pushed Kamehameha to the brink earlier this season.

A win like that bolstered 'Iolani's confidence heading into the rest of the ILH regular season, which features matches against No. 1 Punahou (Sept. 26) and No. 2 Kamehameha (Oct. 9).









“;They're both good teams, and we're just going to have to work really hard (to beat them),”; said 'Iolani senior hitter Mahina Haina. “;I think we can if we just stick together. We have plenty of seniors, and it's the thing we drive for. We want to win.”;

Fifth-ranked 'Iolani—with starting seniors Haina, setter Mali'e Yoon, hitter Alissa Youart, back-row specialist Lumi Shimizu and libero Alyssa Pang—has plenty of work to do before it faces the two powerhouses.

And yesterday, the Raiders (6-1) went to work against Mid-Pac, frustrating the Owls in every aspect of the match. The visiting Raiders pounded 28 kills and committed only five hitting errors. Mid-Pac had just 10 kills and cranked 13 hitting errors. 'Iolani, after a sloppy first set, took advantage of Mid-Pac's second-set mistakes and never let the Owls string more than two points together to generate a run.

'Iolani's pinpoint passing allowed Yoon to serve up assists to eight different teammates.

“;Lately we've been focusing a lot more on defense and back to basics and fundamentals (and) serve receive,”; she said. “;I guess everyone knows that 'Iolani has a little trouble with passing. ... It just starts with passing, and cleaning that up helps our game so much.”;