Kailua head coach Glenn Chong was looking for the right words to describe Moanalua, the team that had come into the Surfriders’ gym Wednesday night and left with a 21-16, 21-17 victory.
“They’re at the top of the food chain,” he said.
Yes indeed. Moanalua, the defending Oahu Interscholastic Association champion, is undefeated and one of the favorites to win the league again this year.
But there is a lower level food chain, too, and Chong’s Surfriders are right there at the top of OIA East Division II with a 4-3 record. And two of those losses are to D-I teams Moanalua (7-0) and Kahuku (7-0), with another top D-I team up next on the schedule Monday, when the Surfriders travel to Windward rival Kalaheo (4-2).
Despite the loss to Moanalua, there were some major bright spots for Kailua. Setter Tiare Young had 16 assists, and that represented help on approximately half of the team’s points. Three middles also did some damage — 6-foot-1 Jasmyn Keohohina-Malina with four kills, an ace and two blocks of Na Menehune’s dangerous outside hitter Jojo Kruize, Delcie Williams with seven kills and an ace, and Keila Fuatagavi-Sale with six kills.
“(Young) puts it up and makes it hittable,” Chong said. “It’s up to the hitters to put it away and we’re working on more consistency from them. We executed our passing and stayed in system most of the night.”
Young, in spite of her top-notch night, thought she and the team could have played better.
“We should have started stronger,” she said. “It was a really slow start, and I could have moved the ball around faster and placed it better. We could have at least taken them (Na Menehune) to three sets.”
“More consistency” is a phrase Chong repeated several times in the postgame interview, and he thinks it will come.
“We expect to be competitive (against D-I teams),” he said. “All we need to do is catch them on a bad night.”