A few notes from the four Divison I quarterfinals matches before Kamehameha-Maui and Moanalua go at it:
No. 3 Mililani (14-0) vs. Aiea (8-6)
The first match at Keaau pits OIA foes against each other, but they have had very different seasons. The Trojans completed its run undefeated while Na Alii sat in the middle of the pack before coming up big in the OIA tournament with wins over Kalani, Kapolei and Leilehua. Mililani swept Aiea the only time they met this season, 25-20, 25-21, but that way way back on Sept. 25.
Aiea beat King Kekaulike in the first round of the state tournament for its first win in the Divsion I tournament since 2004 when it beat Hilo. Aiea is making its first appearance in this tournament since 2009. Mililani has been in the tournament every year since 2006 and won two matches last year for the first time. The Trojans have been knocked out by ILH teams in each of the last three years.
Kamehameha-Maui (17-3) vs. No. 6 Moanalua (13-4)
The MIL champions are one of three Kamehameha schools in the tournament and these Warriors have been in every tournament since 2002. They haven’t had much success, though, being ousted in the first round every year except 2011 and 2008. Moanalua is just as familiar a face to the HHSAA, appearing in every tournament since 2001 and winning multiple games four times. Should Na Menehune win, they would take on the winner between Kamehameha-Kapalama and Kahuku and that does not bode well for them. Although Moanalua shocked Kahuku in the OIA tournament, an ILH school has kicked Na Menehune out of states in eight of the past 10 years. Punahou has put the boot to Moanalua in each of the last two years.
No. 8 Kamehameha-Hawaii (16-0) vs. No. 2 Punahou (13-3)
The undefeated Big Island champion didn’t get any favors in the draw, opening with the ILH’s second best team, but they do get to play close to home in Keaau while the other side of the bracket competes on its home floor. The Warriors have been in eight of the last nine tournaments but have not won a match. Punahou, the two-time defending state champion, was pushed by ‘Iolani and lost to ILH champion Kamehameha three times but otherwise has handled everyone who has stepped in front of it. The Buffanblu have been in every state tournament since 2005 and won multiple matches in every one.
No. 1 Kamehameha vs. No. 4 Kahuku
These are the two mainstays of the state tournament, with Kahuku appearing in every one since 2000 and Kamehameha sitting just behind it with its 12th straight appearance. Both teams survived scares late in the season, but Kamehameha recovered in time to beat Punahou in five for the ILH title while Kahuku’s successive losses to Mililani and Moanalua doomed it to play in this matchup after its first-round win over Hilo. Kamehameha has been in every state championship match since 2002 — When Kahuku took the hardware — and won six titles in a row from 2005-2010. Kahuku has been ousted by a Kamehameha squad in each of the last four years, falling to Kamehameha-Kapalama in 2012, 2010 and 2009 and Kamehameha-Maui in 2009. Kahuku hasn’t won more than one match in the tournament since 2007, another year it was ousted by Kamehameha.
Moanalua and Kamehameha-Maui are warming up for their upcoming match.
Moanalua coach Tommy Lake isnt fooling around, calling a timeout with the score tied 2-2. Moanalua rallies after that for a 6-2 lead but the Warriors fight back. Moanalua currenlty leads 17-15. Moanalua had the advantage at 24-23 but Kamehameha-Maui gets two aces to make it 25-24 Warriors and Lake calls timeout. Silerolia Gaogao responds with a flying kill and an ace and Moanalua takes the first set 26-24.
Patricia Batoon ruled the court when she could get in the front line, pounding down eight kills, most of them on roofs. Gaogao matched her with seven but had two service errors.
Moanalua takes an early timeout up 6-2 in the second set. This is becoming a Gaogao vs. Batoon show, and the Moanalua bomber is winning only because she can stay on the floor longer. Moanalua takes over the second set with Batoon on the bench, turning a 5-2 lead into 14-6. Batoon comes back and leaves and it is Moanalua 19, Kamehameha-Maui 11 when the Warriors call timeout.
Moanalua cruises from there and wins the second set 25-18 to take a 2-0 lead. Na Menehune had no trouble with that set, keeping the Warriors’ big block off the floor and spreading it around when it was.
Same old story to begin the third, Batoon has two kills and Kamehameha-Maui leads 2-1 when she departs. Moanalua takes advantage with her gone and leads 7-2. Kamehameha-Maui has officially fallen apart, taking a timeout down 12-2. Shaylah Kagehiro has served nine straight points for Moanalua and she is still going. Gaogao collects her 10th kill of the set to make it 23-9 and Moanalua completes the sweep 25-10.
Kahuku and Kamehameha coming up next.
Kahuku brought a lot of noise and the Red Raiders are riding that emotion to a 16-12 lead in the first set. Kamehameha isn’t making mistakes, Kahuku just keeps digging everything. Whatever Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said worked, as Alohi Robins-Hardy goes on a serving run after the break and Kamehameha leads 17-16 when Kahuku burns one.
Kahuku might as well be playing against a wall, it is dictating the action and scoring when it executes and Kamehameha scores when Kahuku commits an error. The Red Raiders call a timeout down 23-20.
Talia Afalava buries a kill and Mariah Berard-Kamakeeaina has an ace to tie it at 24.
Sinamoni Tonga buries a kill along the tape and Kamehameha’s Tiyana Hallums hits long to give Kahuku the first set 27-25. The Red Raiders are incredible on defense, at one point running up the stands to retrieve a ball and turn it into a point. I don’t know what Blake can do, it seems this is Kahuku’s to either win or lose. And it very well could do either.
Kahuku opens the second set with an 8-2 lead, the Red Raiders own the tempo. Kahuku has held the lead the entire second set, going up by as many as four, but have a slim 19-18 lead after a kill by Hallums. Kamehameha takes its first lead at 21-20 on a net violation and grows it to two on a kill by Kayla Afoa. Kamehameha 23, Kahuku 21, Warriors with the serve. Afalava commits an error and Kahuku is called for a lift to end it. Kamehameha wins the second set 25-22. Kamehameha needed that one.
Kahuku jumps out to a slim lead in the third but Kamehameha eclipses it when Faith Maatafa gets hot from the service line. Kamehameha 18, Kahuku 15. The Warriors are running things in the third set, jumping on Kahuku mistakes and turning them into points. Kamehameha leads 22-16 after a kill by Hallums. Kahuku fights back on a pair of craters from Adora Anae, but the Warriors end the third set when Hallums blasts a kill off Tonga. Kamehameha wins the third set 25-18 and leads the match 2-1. Kahuku will have to be perfect from here on out.
Maafala is unstoppable from the service line in the fourth with three straight aces and Kamehameha leads the fourth set 8-0. The slaughter continues in the fourth set, as Maafala is still serving and Robins-Hardy has stuffed Anae three times. Kamehameha leads 13-0.
Anae is actually leading Kahuku back, they trail 21-13. Kamehameha wins 25-14 and will play Moanalua tomorrow.