Poway sees the sights; Iolani nets victory in final


POSTED: Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Poway Titans came to the islands and, for the most part, conquered.

Local food? No problem. Bring on the luau.

Local sights? Beautiful. The waves at Waimea Bay carried the bodysurfing Titans from California.

The only obstacle the Titans succumbed to was 'Iolani. The host Raiders got a strong performance from versatile Logan Nowack and superb back-row play led by Scott Sakaida in a 25-14, 25-21 sweep yesterday in the title match of the Hawaii Boys Volleyball Invitational at 'Iolani's gym.

Hitting the sights was the way to go for the Titans, who are ranked No. 23 nationally in the ESPN Rise's Fab 50. 'Iolani is No. 24.

“;We came here to play and have fun,”; coach Charlie Jackson said. “;We achieved both.”;

It was a momentum-gaining weekend for 'Iolani, which hadn't played elite competition for some time. With a slate of tough matches coming this week, coach Mike Among's team got a strong boost of high-level volleyball.

“;Huge, huge, huge. When we lost to Santa Monica (in pool play), we weren't doing little things,”; Among said. “;It's about being disciplined, playing your defensive position and trusting that if you don't get the block, your diggers will get the dig. They began to buy in and believe in it. It was amazing, a big difference.”;

'Iolani is just two weeks removed from a trip to the Best of the West tournament hosted by Poway. The Raiders finished 22nd out of 32 elite teams there.

The Raiders were fresher than the Titans, hitting .303 while keeping a number of rallies alive with great dig work. Nowack had four kills, 13 assists and five aces.

Tyler Tanaka had a team-high seven kills and William Chambers added eight.

Danny Woodley led Poway with seven kills and Brock Skriloff tallied six. The Titans hit .306, but were on their heels much of the match.

“;It was a tough last match. We couldn't get enough passes to our middles,”; Jackson said. “;Iolani is who we wanted to play. I like the kids on that team, love the defense they play and that discipline they have. That's what won it for them. They scrambled better than we did.”;

Nowack and Sakaida, Star-Bulletin All-State Fab 15 selections last season, saved their best for the final. Poway wasn't the same team, though, by the third day of the tourney.

“;I've seen them play batter,”; Nowack said. “;I think Hawaii got to them. They're a good team.”;

They were locked in an even battle to start the first game before Chambers, Colin Tseng and Gabriel Vega combined for kills during a run that propelled the Raiders to an 18-12 lead.

The visitors got within 19-14 after a kill by Woodley and a service error by Sakaida, but 'Iolani scored the last six points—including consecutive aces by Nowack—to seize a 1-0 lead in the match.

Nowack had two more aces to bury the Titans early in the second set. Down 8-1, Poway chipped away and tied it at 21-all after a hitting error by Tanaka.

However, Nowack came up with a kill from the right side on a back set from Clint Hamada, then pounded his fifth ace. After a kill by Tanaka and a hitting error by Poway, the match was over.

The Raiders hosted the Titans in a post-tourney luau at the school last night and have today off.

“;We'll forget about volleyball for a day, then come back Monday and get ready,”; Among said.

'Iolani, No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, will play Hawaii Baptist on Tuesday and Punahou on Thursday. HBA is ranked No. 4 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10. Punahou is No. 1.

Nationally, Punahou is No. 1 and HBA is 17th in ESPN Rise's Fab 50.

“;We can't look past HBA. They've got Ryan (Leung). A hitter like him, he gets hot, that's like when we had Brad (Lawson),”; Among said.

Of Poway's six matches in three days, four went to the three-set limit. Jackson got a lot out of his lineup.

“;It's the first time we ever traveled out of state,”; the eighth-year head coach said. “;With a smaller tourney, we got a lot of good games.”;

Jackson was especially pleased with the progress of libero Jonathan Myers and middles Nik Lane and Sean Revier.

“;(Myers) stepped up into his role. It was nice to see him grab on to it, especially here in the islands where defense is such an important part of everyone's game,”; he said.