ILH D-II volleyball is really something

Le Jardin is one win away from its second consecutive Division II state championship. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The back-and-forth Hawaii Baptist and Damien match Friday night was more evidence that the Interscholastic League of Honolulu is a really special place for volleyball.

Even after you get past the intense Division I teams (Kamehameha, ‘Iolani, Punahou and Maryknoll) that go at it in close races every year, you’ve got three big wheels in Division II.

Well, for now, let’s say Le Jardin, the defending D-II state champion and the ILH champion this year, is the biggest of the wheels. But Hawaii Baptist, a four-time state champion, and Damien, one of those classic never-say-die squads, are not far behind.

The Eagles went up 1-0 on the Monarchs on Friday in the state D-II semifinals at the St. Francis gym, but Damien came back to take the next two sets for a 2-1 lead. Hawaii Baptist grabbed the fourth set, taking it to a winner-take-all fifth, where the Eagles (13-4) dominated.

Both teams were playing good enough to win, but only Hawaii Baptist survived. Now, the Eagles will meet the big wheel (or the big dog), the Bulldogs (15-1), tonight at Blaisdell Arena in the D-II state final.

After his semifinal win over Nanakuli earlier Friday, Le Jardin coach Lee Lamb knew his team was going to be in for a tough one on Saturday, no matter who the Bulldogs were going to end up playing.

“Hawaii Baptist has experience and they’ve been there before,” he said about the Eagles, who won their fourth state D-II championship in 2015.“They play great defense and whenever we play them it’s a battle.”

And this is what he said about the team that just missed out: “Damien has great attackers and they’re doing much better with their ball control in the latter parts of the season,” he said. “They’re hungry.”

In the regular season, Le Jardin beat Hawaii Baptist in three sets. The two teams did not meet in the playoffs.

Listed below is how the three teams did against each other so far.There were not any sweeps in the nine matches.

Le Jardin vs. Damien
>> Le Jardin won 2 out of 3 sets (regular season)
>> Le Jardin won 3 out of 4 sets (playoffs)
>> Damien won 3 out of 5 sets (playoffs)
>> Le Jardin won 3 out of 4 sets, league championship game (playoffs)

Hawaii Baptist vs. Damien
>> Hawaii Baptist won 2 out of 3 sets (regular season)
>> Damien won 3 out of 4 sets (playoffs)
>> Hawaii Baptist won the ILH match for second place (playoffs)
>> Hawaii Baptist won 3 out of 5 sets (states)

Le Jardin vs. Hawaii Baptist
>> Le Jardin won 2 out of 3 sets (regular season)

And now it’s going to come down to one match for the big prize.

“We wanted it really bad and we told each other that we’re not playing for ourselves, but we’re playing for each other,” said Hawaii Baptist junior Brienna Nishimura, who had 15 kills in Friday’s victory. “Most importantly, we’re playing for our seniors. This is their last year and we want to make it count for them.

“I expect them (Le Jardin) to come out with everything they have, but at the same time, I expect us to do exactly the same.”


  1. October 28, 2017 8:03 am

    create 3 div jus like football n oia can particpate in d1 an d2, let ilh play in open div, tired see all ilh final every year

  2. Rams33 October 28, 2017 9:15 am

    Already is an all-ILH final every year. No need a 3rd tier for volleyball, the back end of both D1 & D2 tournaments is already watered down as is.

    Should be 2 excellent championship matches tonight.

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