Moanalua did what it had to do to retain supremacy in the OIA East boys volleyball standings last week.
Na Menehune won at Kaiser, 26-24, 25-22, Thursday in a battle of 7-0 teams to take the inside track to the East’s top seed in the upcoming league playoffs. Moanalua, now at 8-0, leads Kaiser and Farrington (7-1 each) by a game with three contests remaining in the regular season.
Click here for OIA East standings/schedule.
It was a familiar outcome for those who’ve followed the sport, and particularly the OIA, in recent years. Moanalua captured six straight OIA championships until having that snapped by Mililani last spring. But behind a fearsome threesome of swingers — Kalai Leopoldo, Kainoa Ferguson and Max Slaughter — Na Menehune are in position to reclaim their top standing among Oahu public schools. Moanalua hasn’t dropped a set against OIA opposition.
Kaiser, despite not playing its best match Thursday — the Cougars also hadn’t dropped a set in league play until then — has reason to think it can turn it on come playoff time.
The Cougars’ top player, senior hitter Jon Stanley, was held in check for most of the match at five kills. The younger brother of Clay and Wil Stanley showcased a broad skill-set (hitting, passing, digging) but was unable to power his team past Na Menehune, despite several mini-runs to challenge the traditional East power and make Moanalua close out both sets with clutch swings by Leopoldo.
“This was a step up for us,” Kaiser’s veteran coach Jon Stanley, father of the three brothers, acknowledged afterward. “The competition was better than we’d seen. We kind of took on the challenge pretty good I thought, we learned a lot, but we can be a lot better. Maybe that’s our advantage, is we can get a lot better and maybe they (can’t). Maybe.”
Stanley thought his son was fatigued after a late-night study session, another reason for hope in a theoretical rematch, possibly in the OIA title game.
“I know if he’s on, then that’s worth the points that we lost by,” the Kaiser coach said.
But, as the OIA West showed last year, it won’t simply concede things to the East.
Here’s what’s remaining for the three teams in East contention on April 3, 5 and 10, respectively:
Moanalua: vs. Anuenue (0-8 D-II), at Kalaheo (7-1 D-I), vs. Kahuku (1-7 D-I)
Kaiser: at Roosevelt (4-4 D-I), vs. Kaimuki (3-5 D-II), at Farrington (6-2 D-I)
Farrington: vs. McKinley (2-6 D-I), at Kalani (4-4 D-I), vs. Kaiser (7-1 D-I)
The OIA playoffs begin April 12.