There was a brief time, during basketball season and a trip to the mainland, when brothers Hugh and Cole Hogland were just about out of their minds.
Being only one year apart in age is one thing. But seeing your brother constantly — on campus, at practice, at home, the pressure of ‘Iolani’s 1-2 foot high pile of daily homework, playing for state champion — add it all up, and it can be a wee-bit stressful. And annoying. So Hugh and Cole Hogland had their spat. Not quite a fight. But a definite brothers-at-arms conflict. They both returned home, almost able to laugh about it. The Raiders had a solid season, coming up short of another state title, but their time together as basketball teammates wearing the same ‘Iolani jersey was done.
Then volleyball season began. Hugh, the 6-foot-9, once-in-a-generation physical specimen, ached through much of the early season with a sore right shoulder. Cole, a springy 6-4 junior, began to find his way as a middle blocker and hitter. Punahou ran away with the ILH title, but ‘Iolani outlasted Kamehameha in five sets to snag the second state berth.
On Monday in the muggy confines of ‘Iolani’s upper gym — no air-conditioning — Cole set the tone early with two kills and two wicked jump serves for aces. He finished with nine kills, two aces and one block in limited playing time as ‘Iolani swept Waianae 25-6, 25-17, 25-14 in the opening round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA State Championships. It was serving by Cole Hogland, Kawika Lee (two aces) and the rest of the unit that negated Waianae’s athleticism. The Raiders finished with six aces, and with Ryan Van Cantfort (10 kills) and Hugh Hogland (eight kills, one block) providing a consistent wall at the net, ‘Iolani (12-4) was highly efficient.
Now the Raiders get a little space and time to prepare for a quarterfinal battle with OIA champion Mililani on Thursday. Game time at Radford is 7 p.m.
“We really need these two days to fine tune things. We need more to beat Mililani,” Hugh Hogland said.
Cole Hogland is one of the Raiders who believes in daily work.
“We’ve been working hard, especially on the serve,” he said.
‘Iolani coach Jordan Inafuku, the former Kamehameha standout, wouldn’t credit any individual Raider too heavily.
“We’re ‘One Team’, “ he said. “But our setting group did a nice job.”
That included starting setter Shane Harimoto (15 assists), Lee (10 assists) and Travis Tamura (two assists, one ace). The Raiders have the capacity to go with a 6-2 offense, which would be advantageous with the athletic 6-2 Lee on the floor, but mostly showed a basic set against Waianae, the fifth-place team from the OIA.
“We’ve had different iterations,” Inafuku said. “Our 6-2 is part of it.”
The Raiders finished with 33 kills and just nine hitting errors, while Waianae had 16 kills and 12 hitting errors. It wasn’t until the third set, with ‘Iolani’s reserves occupying most or all of the court, that the Seariders could get the ball over or through the block. Waianae had no aces with five service errors. ‘Iolani finished with nine aces and five service errors.
The Seariders never stopped hustling, getting up for four blocks to match the Raiders. But with Hugh Hogland constantly towering at the net, Waianae was in scramble mode much of the time.
“ ‘Iolani, they’re good. Playing at their level will help us train for next season,” said junior Blaze Kahikina, a 6-2 outside hitter.
The intensity and velocity of ‘Iolani’s game was a clear advantage for two sets. Waianae seemed to adjust much more consistently by the third game regardless of who was at serve for ‘Iolani.
Kahikina finished with four kills, as did Jaren Ulu. Coach Wilhelm Wagner was in his usual positive mode after the match, but he couldn’t help but wonder why it took his team so long to get its motor revving.
“We did well for facing the No. 2 ILH team. They’re a tough team facing Punahou and Kamehameha,” Wagner said. “Everybody needed to wake up a little. We were stuck in neutral.”