Hula sparks Moanalua into OIA title match

Moanalua has been tough to beat winning three of the last four OIA Division I championships. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Unranked Mililani had the power.

Fifth-ranked Moanalua had the grit. They also had Hula.

Senior libero Hula Crisostomo and freshman Tayli Ikenaga put on a digging exhibition for Na Menehune in a 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 sweep of Mililani. Moanalua (13-0) will meet another unbeaten powerhouse, Kapolei (12-0), in the OIA title match on Wednesday at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium.

The Lady Trojans brought a lot of firepower, but Moanalua’s back row was relentless, tough and skilled.

“Hula wasn’t there her freshman year with Jojo (Kruse) and the other girls. This year, she really wanted to get back,” Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting said. “She wasn’t just leading by example, but she’s very vocal.”

Na Menehune withstood an onslaught of 112 swings by Mililani in just three sets. The Trojans hit .170, including 15 hitting errors.

“For us, it’s about serving and passing. We don’t have that one power hitter,” Cabanting said.

Six-foot junior Jeslyn Spencer comes close to being that offensive force, hitting with the kind of torque and physicality that is rare at most OIA programs. Spencer and middle Delylah Sanerivi finished with seven blocks apiece. Sanerivi added three blocks, while Emily Dulaney pounded 10 of her team-high 12 kills in the second and third games combined. She also had two aces and nine assists in a versatile performance for the unbeaten team in navy blue.

Another senior, Sara Ehnstrom, had 20 assists, five kills and one ace. Her smooth delivery was key; Na Menehune had just one hitting error in the first set and two in the second.

Junior Gabby Naniseni had a team-high nine kills and sophomore Falanika Danielson tallied eight for the Trojans, who will play Waianae for third place.


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