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.
“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.”
|1||April 29||Hilo vs. Leilehua||Hilo 25-17, 19-25, 25-22, 25-16||Hilo|
|2||April 29||Kalaheo vs. Farrington||Kalh 25-14, 25-18, 25-16||Kalaheo|
|3||April 29||Lahainaluna vs. Mililani||Mil 25-19, 25-23, 25-10||Lahainaluna|
|4||April 29||Punahou vs. Castle||Pun 25-9, 25-15, 25-19||Punahou|
|5||May 2||(3) KS-Hawaii vs. Punahou||Pun 25-6, 25-14, 25-19||Radford|
|6||May 2||(2) Moanalua vs. Mililani||Moan 25-17, 25-9, 22-25, 25-22||Radford|
|7||May 2||(4) KS-Maui vs. Kalaheo||Kalh 25-13, 25-17, 23-25, 25-20||Moanalua|
|8||May 2||(1) 'Iolani vs. Hilo||Iol 25-14, 25-15, 25-23||Moanalua|
|9*||May 3||KS-Maui vs. Hilo||Hilo, 2-1||Radford|
|10*||May 3||KS-Hawaii vs. Mililani||Mil, 2-0||Radford|
|11||May 3||Kalaheo vs. 'Iolani||Iol 25-19, 25-7, 25-18||Moanalua|
|12||May 3||Punahou vs. Moanalua||Pun 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 15-5||Moanalua|
|13*||May 4||Hilo vs. Mililani||Mil 18-25, 25-21, 16-14||Blaisdell Arena|
|14*||May 4||Kalaheo vs. Moanalua||Kalh 25-14, 25-21||Blaisdell Arnea|
|15||May 4||'Iolani vs. Punahou||7 p.m.||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|
|1||May 2||(4) Seabury Hall vs. Makua Lani||SH 25-21, 25-18, 25-27, 25-18||St. Francis|
|2||May 2||(1) St. Francis vs. Nanakuli||StF 25-19, 25-13, 28-26||St. Francis|
|3||May 2||(2) Kapaa vs. Hawaii Prep||Kapa 25-19, 25-21, 25-19||Kalani|
|4||May 2||(3) Pearl City vs. University||ULS 25-21, 25-21, 25-21||Kalani|
|5*||May 3||Nanakuli vs. Makua Lani||ML, 2-1||Kalani|
|6*||May 3||Hawaii Prep vs. Pearl City||HPA, 2-0||Kalani|
|7||May 3||St. Francis vs. Seabury Hall||StF 23-25, 25-20, 25-14, 26-24||St. Francis|
|8||May 3||Kapaa vs. University||Kap 25-20, 25-19, 25-18||St. Francis|
|9*||May 4||Makua Lani vs. Hawaii Prep||ML 26-24, 25-20||Blaisdell Arena|
|10*||May 4||University vs. Seabury Hall||ULS 25-19, 24-26, 15-13||Blaisdell Arena|
|11||May 4||Kapaa vs. St. Francis||StF 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 25-12||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|