Aiea earns rest by beating Mililani


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

In the rough regular season of the Oahu Interscholastic Association, there are no big prizes and rewards for perfection.

The best No. 8-ranked Aiea can get is a well-earned day off.

Na Alii (12-0) closed regular-season play with a 25-12, 25-19 sweep of Mililani last night, giving a frenzied senior-night crowd of about 300 plenty to cheer about. That was enough for coach Blythe Yamamoto, who has been blessed with a hard-working unit led by five seniors.

“;I'm happy with the way we came out intensity-wise. Senior night can easily go both ways,”; she said. “;It's an emotional time.”;

One of her seniors, Melelatu Samisoni, led the way with eight kills and three blocks. The 5-foot-9 middle didn't commit a single hitting error (.571), using a mix of power swings and nimble tip shots off feeds from classmate Kelly Leopoldo (20 assists, three kills).

“;We're trying to play smart and not just hit it all the time,”; Samisoni said. “;Kelly's a really good setter.”;

Junior Tiara Fetui added five kills off the bench, while sophomore Taylor-Marie Fetui and junior Ashlei Liilii chipped in four kills each.

“;We need all our hitters, all our teammates to win games,”; Samisoni said. “;We practice hard, so it pays off.”;

Speaking of practice, Aiea will get today off. With the No. 1 seed in the Red West, Na Alii will have a first-round bye in the playoffs and won't play until Oct. 13, Yamamoto said.

“;They deserve it,”; Yamamoto said. “;It's an opportunity to rest their bodies and their brains. They might get it easy on Monday, then we'll go full throttle and get some scrimmages in with older players.”;

Leopoldo's even-keeled temperament is a big key.

“;Everybody knows where they're going now,”; she said. “;We just gotta play hard and stay focused.”;

Junior Shyanne Cossey led Mililani (8-4) with seven kills. Another junior, Taylor Fong, added five kills. Sisters Kelsie and Kylee Cornelio had six digs each, as did Janine Orosco, to lead Mililani's defense.

After trying a new lineup in the first set, Mililani went back to its normal starting unit and kept it relatively close in the second set. Kills by Fong, Pomai Grube-Hose and Orosco brought the Trojans to within 18-14.

Aiea scored the next four points to put the game out of reach.