Hitting over .400 is not a common feat, not on the baseball diamond nor on the volleyball hardwood.
The ‘Iolani Raiders put together a 25-9, 25-17, 25-19 sweep of Waianae on Monday night with resilient defense and passing at Father Bray Athletic Complex. With Elena Oglivie, Grace Wee and Naya Dong leading the back row, the home team resisted most of Waianae’s attack.
Oglivie, the returning All-State player of the year, had a modest two kills in four swings in the opening set as setter Kristen McDaniel found openings for other weapons. Saige Ka‘aha‘aina-Torres (nine swings) and middle Sasha Petticord (three) got looks. Waianae’s lineup was missing three starters, but still had a wall led by Jasmine Fonoti (5-foot-9) and Alexus Kapihe (5-9).
The Raiders were patient, playing the long game as they dug nearly every tip and rip by the Seariders, who hit -.267 in the opening set.
‘Iolani hit .400 in game one and .500 in game two. The Raiders finished the match hitting .403, limiting Waianae to .167. They also had the edge in aces (5-2) and blocks (4-2).
Petticord, a 6-2 junior, got untracked in the second set with five of her nine kills.
“Right before the match, all the middles got extra reps,” Petticord said. “That really helped us get all the kinds out and get comfortable.”
Ka‘aha‘aina-Torres (eight total kills) and Oglivie were also crucial. Waianae jumped to a 9-4 lead and silenced the student turnout in the “Raider Nation” section, but Ka‘aha‘aina-Torres delivered with three kills, one ace and one block. Oglivie added four kills, but also had three hitting errors.
Freshman Cameryn Ann Nagaji, a 5-7 middle, had all three of her kills in the second game to add a spark to the rally.
The third set was ‘Iolani volleyball at its best. Oglivie sprayed nine kills with an array of power and finesse. The 5-10 sophomore finished with 15 kills and one block. Junior Izabella Sakoda added five kills and one of her team’s four blocks.
Waianae’s first season in Division I after winning the OIA D-II title in 2016 was a big step forward. The Seariders finished fourth in the OIA and closed with a 10-5 record under longtime coach Wilhelm Wagner.
“Coach Wagner did a great job with his team, moving up from Division II,” Raiders coach Kainoa Obrey said.
Now ‘Iolani has Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare for the quarterfinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships. The Raiders will battle Maui Interscholastic League champion Kamehameha-Maui on Thursday at Moanalua gym (5 p.m.).
“I’m excited. Nervous,” said Ka‘aha‘aina-Torres, the lone senior on the roster.
None of the Raiders have seen the MIL champions play.
“I’m sure our coaches will find something for us to watch,” freshman Rebecca Sakoda said. “They always do.”
‘Iolani (7-7) and its ILH counterparts knew each other so well through the regular season and the wild playoff matchups. Four of the top five teams — Kamehameha, ‘Iolani, Punahou and Maryknoll — are from the ILH. KS-Maui is currently No. 8 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.
“We’ve got what we need,” Obrey said of his team’s scouting tools. “But it’s a lot different when it’s live.”