He’s not just older and wiser.
Micah Ma‘a is a crusher of Wilson volleyballs, and if he needs to soar 12 feet high to get the job done, he does it with authority.
The 6-foot-4 Punahou senior wowed the audience at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium on Tuesday night, leaving both Buffanblu and Kamehameha fans amazed. Speechless. Well, not all spectators were speechless.
When it became clear that Punahou (5-0) had its groove completely going en route to a 25-21, 25-15 sweep of Kamehameha (4-1), fans couldn’t help but sit back and simply enjoy the show. One gray-haired Warriors fan sitting near my on the bleachers couldn’t help complimenting the visiting team, or Ma‘a, as he smashed seven of his 15 kills from the back row. Ma‘a was easily 11 feet in the air, probably closer to 12, as he laid waste to all in his way. And it’s been just two weeks or so since he returned to volleyball full-time after a long hiatus dating back to the nationals last summer.
“Enough already,” the fan said. “Time for him to graduate right now and go to D-I (college) at UCLA.”
Ma‘a signed with UCLA last November.
With his prowess in football as a wide receiver and in basketball as a ballhawking forward, Ma‘a seemed to only grow stronger for sport of volleyball.
“He missed it. He knows this is his last time playing high school volleyball,” Punahou coach Rick Tune said. “It’s the same for every member of our team. I hope these guys enjoy being together and going to battle together. Micah sets the tone and he’s a great role model for our guys.”
Ma‘a, always disciplined and using the entire court, didn’t just play the role of a destroyer in what he calls their “Bick” (back row) play. He used a mix of tips and off-speed balls to stymie Kamehameha defenders. Wil Stanley (14 assists, four kills) and Todd Gruebner (13 assists) spread the wealth in Punahou’s balanced attack. But with Ma‘a in bonecrusher mode from 10 feet behind the net, the setters didn’t hesitate to go to the hot man.
“Our setters did a great job. Our passers did a great job. Volleyball is such a process, the first thing needs to happen for later sequences to happen,” Tune said. “I’m proud of our guys. They responded well to a big test.”