Underdogs ‘Iolani and Sacred Hearts gave the volleyball favorites a Halloween-time trick Saturday night at the Blaisdell Arena.
It was spook-tacular for the Division I and II losers, Kamehameha and Le Jardin.
In the second match of the night, the second-ranked Raiders took down top-seeded Kamehameha in three sets, 25-23, 25-21, 25-18. A microcosmic analogy would be of a left-side hitter winding up seven times on the same rally and getting roofed five times and dug up once before the ball touches down on the other side on the seventh swing.
That’s right. The seventh-time was the charm for the Raiders, who lost to Kamehameha five times in six previous matches this season.
“It’s always a battle when we play against them,” ‘Iolani coach Kainoa Obrey said. “Fortunately, we played a little better tonight.”
The actual match was not much of a match. The Raiders (13-5) pretty much dominated, with Elena Oglivie pounding down 28 kills, the most by anyone in the championship match in the 50 years of the event.
Oglivie won Honolulu Star-Advertiser player of the year honors two years ago, in 2016, when she was a freshman. There’s not much of a chance another player will be selected this year after Saturday’s performance.
Having a mega-night right along with Oglivie was setter Kristen McDaniel, who had 35 assists, many of them high-arcing, delicious-looking watermelons.
“She gave hittable balls to all of our hitters,” Obrey said.
Kamehameha (14-2) was denied a 22nd championship. They were also going for a second in a row, a fourth in the last six years and a 10th for coach Chris Blake.
“They (the Raiders) played lights out and did things it takes to win,” Blake said. “We weren’t able to do a lot of things that we were doing through the course of the year. A lot of it was based on their execution. They were hungry and fired up and deserved to get the ‘W’ tonight.”
It was a third state championship for ‘Iolani, which also won it in 2016 and 2001.
“It was honestly amazing,” McDaniel said. “Coming back from last year and having that mentality that we are going to take it and are going to work hard as one team, like our motto, and stick together no matter what happens. The whole game we stayed confident, we looked at each other and looked to our coaches and that helped us to stick together. We get a lot of support from our school and this championship is giving thanks back.”
She’s the one who sets the plate for Oglivie, who she gave props to: “She’s an amazing hitter and athlete and a very good overall player. She does so many things for our team.”
Sacred Hearts’ story in D-II was even more of a classic underdog case.
The Lancers (13-4) placed fourth in the ILH regular-season standings, behind Damien, Le Jardin and Mid-Pacific. They fought through it all, despite an early exit in the league tournament, and finished off with a state championship following a 19-25, 26-24, 25-13, 25-17 win over Le Jardin.
Coach Raymond Patcho reminded the press afterward that those three teams were the opponents in the first three matches of the season — all losses.
“We weren’t able to get into system and show what we can do early in the season,” he said. “But once we got there and they were buying into it, we started to develop.”
Le Jardin (14-3) was going for a third state title in a row, even though the Bulldogs were unseeded.
Lee Lamb, Le Jardin’s coach, said, “They (the Lancers) outhustled and outplayed us. They were digging everything and we tried to mix it up, but no matter where we went on the court, they found a way.”
Patcho made two adjustments — one a long time ago and the other on Saturday night — that made a difference in the run to the title.
The first one was moving Makenzie Faamausili-Cacoulidis from middle to setter.
“This year, I saw her work so we developed her technique on setting,” the coach said. “We ran a 6-2 in the beginning, and then I said to her, ‘No, we’re going to run a 5-1 and you’re going to be our girl and we’re going to stay with you. She is a leader on the court.”
Faamausili-Cacoulidis had 43 assists.
Sacred Hearts, which also won a D-II state crown in 2006, changed its blocking scheme during the finale.
“We made them hop instead of jump, because they (the Bulldogs) were only hitting the ball about six inches over the net. Once we made them hop, it stopped them. We weren’t trying to out-jump them anymore. Sometimes you jump too high. It’s a technique we’ve practiced, that hop.”
Said Faamausili-Cacoulidis: “Give all credit to God above. I’m blessed with with a passion and I give credit to my mom, family and coaches. They’ve gotten me to be the person I am today. Coach believed in me and saw a setter and took a chance on me, so I credit him.
“We’ve come so far from the beginning of the season. Our school is not really known for sports, so to have this championship is just amazing.”
Shaydee Afoa (six kills, four block assists), Shawna Thompson (three block assists), Ryanne Burnett (15 kills) and Kayla Murray (12 kills) were also major factors in the win.
“Afoa, she’s a beast,” Patcho said. “She’s the other spark-plug, who says, ‘I just wanna play.’ ”
Patcho may have known his team was in position to win, but he didn’t know for sure that they could actually do it until they went out and did it.
A little positive reinforcement from him went a long way.
“All we had to do was tell them, ‘Hey, we’re the best team here and we’re going to play like the best team here.’ ”
HHSAA D-I State Tournament
|1||Oct. 22||Waianae vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14||KS-Hawaii|
|2||Oct. 22||Moanalua vs. KS-Maui||Moan 25-8, 25-20, 25-18||KS-Maui|
|3||Oct. 22||Farrington vs. Kahuku||Kah 16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-12||Kahuku|
|4||Oct. 22||'Iolani vs. Kapolei||Iol 25-19, 25-15, 25-16||'Iolani|
|5||Oct. 25||(4) Hilo vs. Kahuku||Kah 25-12, 25-23, 25-19||McKinley|
|6||Oct. 25||(1) Kamehameha vs. Moanalua||KSK 25-16, 25-12, 25-17||McKinley|
|7||Oct. 25||(2) Mililani vs. KS-Hawaii||Mil 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17||Moanalua|
|8||Oct. 25||(3) King Kekaulike vs. 'Iolani||Iol 25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-8||Moanalua|
|9*||Oct. 26||Hilo vs. Moanalua||Moan 25-22, 25-22||Moanalua|
|10*||Oct. 26||KS-Hawaii vs. King Kekaulike||KSH 25-22, 27-25||Moanalua|
|11||Oct. 26||Mililani vs. 'Iolani||Iol 25-17, 25-20, 25-14||McKinley|
|12||Oct. 26||Kahuku vs. Kamehameha||KSK 25-16, 25-22, 25-9||McKinley|
|13*||Oct. 27||Moanalua vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH 21-25, 25-13, 16-14||Blaisdell Arena|
|14*||Oct. 27||Mililani vs. Kahuku||Mil 25-27, 25-18, 15-4||Blaisdell Arena|
|15||Oct. 27||'Iolani vs. Kamehameha||Iol 25-23, 25-21, 25-18||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|
HHSAA D-II State Tournament
|1||Oct. 24||Konawaena vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 25-7, 25-15, 25-12||St. Francis|
|2||Oct. 24||(5) Waimea vs. Hana||Waim 25-13, 14-25, 25-12, 25-16||St. Francis|
|3||Oct. 24||Damien vs. Hawaii Prep||DMS 25-13, 25-6, 25-8||Kaimuki|
|4||Oct. 24||Leilehua vs. Le Jardin||LJA 25-14, 25-12, 25-17||Kaimuki|
|5*||Oct. 25||Konawaena vs. Hana||Hana 27-25, 25-21||St. Francis|
|6*||Oct. 25||Hawaii Prep vs. Leilehua||Lei 25-16, 20-25, 15-5||Kaimuki|
|7||Oct. 25||(4) Kaiser vs. Waimea||Waim 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 25-13||St. Francis|
|8||Oct. 25||(1) Mid-Pacific vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 25-12, 25-19, 7-25, 25-19||St. Francis|
|9||Oct. 25||(3) Kohala vs. Damien||DMS 25-11, 25-11, 25-19||Kaimuki|
|10||Oct. 25||(2) Seabury Hall vs. Le Jardin||LJA 25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 25-15||Kaimuki|
|11*||Oct. 26||Hana vs. Leilehua||Hana 18-25, 25-20, 15-10||Kaimuki|
|12*||Oct. 26||Kaiser vs. Mid-Pacific||MPI 25-21, 25-19||Kaimuki|
|13*||Oct. 26||Kohala vs. Seabury Hall||SH 25-16, 25-22||Kaimuki|
|14||Oct. 26||Damien vs. Le Jardin||LeJ 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17||St. Francis|
|15||Oct. 26||Waimea vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 25-22, 25-12, 25-16||St. Francis|
|16*||Oct. 27||Mid-Pacific vs. Seabury Hall||MPI 15-25, 25-17, 15-7||Blaisdell Arena|
|17*||Oct. 27||Damien vs. Waimea||DMS 25-9, 25-17||Blaisdell Arena|
|18||Oct. 27||Le Jardin vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 19-25, 26-24, 25-13, 25-17||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|