Moanalua going to Max (Slaughter) in showdown with Punahou

Moanalua has won eight of the last nine OIA boys volleyball titles in Division I. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

For two sets, Moanalua simply overwhelmed Mililani.

For two more sets, it was Mililani clawing its way back, a few points away from sending a crucial quarterfinal match to a fifth set. No. 2 seed Moanalua wasn’t staggered for long, though, advancing to the semifinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships with a 25-17, 25-9, 22-25, 25-22 victory over the Trojans on Thursday night.

Na Menehune will square off against seven-time defending state champion Punahou on Friday — at Moanalua’s home court — in what could turn out to be the most raucous atmosphere of the tourney. At least in the first three rounds. OIA champion Moanalua (14-1) knows full well the history of high school volleyball in Hawaii. How it is practically ruled by the ILH’s Goliath, Punahou. How ‘Iolani and Kamehameha have been perennial powerhouses, as well.


Moanalua? The raw power and resilience are there. Max Slaughter came through, as usual, with 20 kills and 10 digs against Mililani. DiAeris McRaven, a 6-foot-5 junior, tallied 15 kills.

“We’ve been working on the lineup we had today. Earlier on, DiAeris was hitting nice attacks on the pin and we really wanted to test it against Mililani. Mililani put him in situations where typical outside hitters need to be smarter. We kind of got in trouble when he started to get on himself, but he came back the last couple of plays,” Na Menehune coach Alan Cabanting said. “He’s the kind of athlete who can hit over blocks, who can hit at a really high spot, and he doesn’t need to bring it down. There were so many openings in the first two sets, he started to get comfortable swinging down, when he got blocked once or twice, it kind of unnerved him. So, thank goodness there’s Max. The big thing is, for us to be successful moving forward, Max and DiAeris need to put away balls when we need them to put them away.”

Colby Tomita racked up five aces to lead Moanalua’s serve.

“Colby has been a spark plug. When we were down against Kalaheo, he took us on a couple of service runs. That gave us a ton of confidence to trust in him doing the serving for us,” Cabanting said.

Setter Cole Fukumitsu was busy and tidy with 38 assists.

“Cole was running some really nice play sets. Good, solid connections with our hitters, really running the offense the way I really wanted him to in the first two sets. When it became tighter, that rattled him just a little bit. In the fourth set, he came back and he came back really strong for us,” Cabanting said.

Now, Punahou.

“Ultimately, for both of us, it’s funny because we’re very similar teams in that we miss a ton of serves and hit a ton of errors, so tomorrow it’s who will take care of the serve, who can take care of the pass, and when we need it when we’re out of system, who can hit the ball in,” he said.

It’s not often any team plays a semifinal match at home, but Moanalua has its second opportunity in as many years. If there would ever be a proper time for an actual sellout, Friday would be it.

“That would be awesome. Absolutely, it helped us a ton last year against ‘Iolani when it went the distance,” Cabanting noted. “It would be a great boost of us, a ton of energy. These guys, especially, when you see them pumped up and riled up, DiAeris especially, he’s jumping higher after a good attack, after a big, gigantic cheer from the crowd. It’ll definitely be a big advantage for us.”

Division I

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1April 29Hilo vs. LeilehuaHilo 25-17, 19-25, 25-22, 25-16Hilo
2April 29Kalaheo vs. FarringtonKalh 25-14, 25-18, 25-16Kalaheo
3April 29Lahainaluna vs. MililaniMil 25-19, 25-23, 25-10Lahainaluna
4April 29Punahou vs. CastlePun 25-9, 25-15, 25-19Punahou
5May 2(3) KS-Hawaii vs. PunahouPun 25-6, 25-14, 25-19Radford
6May 2(2) Moanalua vs. MililaniMoan 25-17, 25-9, 22-25, 25-22Radford
7May 2(4) KS-Maui vs. KalaheoKalh 25-13, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20Moanalua
8May 2(1) 'Iolani vs. HiloIol 25-14, 25-15, 25-23Moanalua
9*May 3KS-Maui vs. HiloHilo, 2-1Radford
10*May 3KS-Hawaii vs. MililaniMil, 2-0Radford
11May 3Kalaheo vs. 'IolaniIol 25-19, 25-7, 25-18Moanalua
12May 3Punahou vs. MoanaluaPun 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 15-5Moanalua
13*May 4Hilo vs. MililaniMil 18-25, 25-21, 16-14Blaisdell Arena
14*May 4Kalaheo vs. MoanaluaKalh 25-14, 25-21Blaisdell Arnea
15May 4'Iolani vs. Punahou7 p.m.Blaisdell Arena
* — consolation

Division II

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1May 2(4) Seabury Hall vs. Makua LaniSH 25-21, 25-18, 25-27, 25-18St. Francis
2May 2(1) St. Francis vs. NanakuliStF 25-19, 25-13, 28-26St. Francis
3May 2(2) Kapaa vs. Hawaii PrepKapa 25-19, 25-21, 25-19Kalani
4May 2(3) Pearl City vs. UniversityULS 25-21, 25-21, 25-21Kalani
5*May 3Nanakuli vs. Makua LaniML, 2-1Kalani
6*May 3Hawaii Prep vs. Pearl CityHPA, 2-0Kalani
7May 3St. Francis vs. Seabury HallStF 23-25, 25-20, 25-14, 26-24St. Francis
8May 3Kapaa vs. UniversityKap 25-20, 25-19, 25-18St. Francis
9*May 4Makua Lani vs. Hawaii PrepML 26-24, 25-20Blaisdell Arena
10*May 4University vs. Seabury HallULS 25-19, 24-26, 15-13Blaisdell Arena
11May 4Kapaa vs. St. FrancisStF 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 25-12Blaisdell Arena
* — consolation


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