Anuenue didn’t show No. 7 Moanalua much during the first set of Wednesday’s OIA East girls volleyball match.
Na Koa coach Pakalana Chan had a good feeling, however, that it would change in the second set.
“It’s always been a struggle for my girls as far as getting going,” Chan said. “It’s disheartening to see them in the first set when I know that the second set is what they should have done in the first set.”
Na Koa bounced back to give Na Menehune everything it had before dropping a 25-10, 26-24 decision to Na Menehune, who is now 8-1.
The bigger story was on the other side of the net, where despite a straight-set loss, Anuenue clinched its first OIA Division II playoff berth in school history with Kaimuki’s loss to Castle.
Anuenue, which is 3-6 this season after going three straight years without even winning a set at the varsity level, is two games up on the Bulldogs (1-8) with two to play and Na Koa owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Roosevelt, Anuenue and Kaiser have clinched playoff berths in Division II out of the East with Anuenue facing Kaiser in its regular-season finale with a chance to go 4-0 against Division II teams in the regular season.
“My girls aren’t crybabies and not that they don’t care if they don’t win, but they just like to see gains whether it’s the score or not,” Chan said about the team’s sudden improvement this season. “Every year I hope that every game they play they will have a win, really. I think this team is my team that I made it up to the playoffs with them their freshmen year as our junior varsity team and I’ve always expected a lot of these girls and it’s just nice that I get to see it.”
Anuenue opened the season with wins over Kaimuki and McKinley after again, it’s worth repeating, not winning a single set in the last three years combined. Anuenue also took a set off Division I teams Kalani and Castle before sweeping Roosevelt, 25-19, 25-20, last Wednesday to remain perfect against Division II teams.
The OIA playoffs include the top three teams from the East and West with the top seed getting a first-round bye. Anuenue would need to beat Kailua and Kaiser and Roosevelt would have to lose to Kalani and Kahuku for Na Koa to get the No. 1 seed.
The regular season wraps up next Tuesday in the West and next Wednesday in the East.