The tide had turned and the Mililani Trojans were awash in deep waters.
Up 2-0 against dangerous Kahuku, the Lady Trojans were wiped out in game three. Kahuku led 20-14 in the fourth set — a combined 44-30 edge since the end of the second game — and looked omnipotent. Every ball was heavy. Every swing seemed like a home run.
But the Lady Trojans withstood the surge. With a sizable and loud backing led by its football team, No. 4 Mililani rallied and closed the fourth set with a stunning 11-3 run for a 25-22, 25-17, 16-25, 25-23 win over the sixth-ranked Red Raiders to reach the OIA title game.
Falanika Danielson 21 kills, 2 aces as No. 4 Mililani outlasts No. 6 Kahuku 25-22, 25-17, 16-25, 25-23. @MililaniTrojans will meet No. 5 @mohsathletics in the OIA final on Wednesday. @HawaiiPrepWorld #oia #playoffs pic.twitter.com/4sZFpyWo5C
— Paul Honda (@PupulePaul) October 15, 2019
Emma Berry came alive in the fourth set with six of her eight kills, all from the middle. Setter Aysia Miller was clutch with 34 assists and four kills, all on perfect dump shots. Falanika Danielson had her team’s final five points, all on kills after rotation back to the front line. Danielson finished with 21 kills and two aces.
“Definitely, we wanted to maintain our play. What got to us was the amount we were ahead by. We needed to stay on top of our game and we let it go,” Danielson said. “In the huddle, we mainly focused on working as a team, staying high in energy, staying positive and sticking with what we know.”
Poise and focus went a long way for the smaller, but skilled Lady Trojans.
“My main goal wasn’t to try to get really nice kills. My main goal was to get point after point, chip away, tie the game and just keep pushing to 25. That’s all we could do,” she said.
Veteran coach Val Crabbe saw at least one new tweak by Kahuku.
“Options. We have to work on options. We have some people not 100 percent,” she said. “Kahuku is good. They’re big, they’re good. Their block is really good. Their rotating defense is what they really switched to since the beginning of the season. They pick up a lot, so it’s different.”
Mililani will meet Moanalua on Wednesday for the OIA D-I girls volleyball title in a matchup of undefeated teams.
“They’re a really good team. They’re just like us. They’re very scrappy,” Danielson noted. “They know what we’re like. We’ve played them before, a couple times in preseason. I’m really excited for the championships.”
|1||Oct. 9||Kalaheo (E5) vs. Nanakuli (W4)||Nan 25-18, 25-18, 25-18||Farrington|
|2||Oct. 9||Leilehua (W6) vs. Farrington (E3)||Far 25-13, 26-24, 25-13||Farrington|
|3||Oct. 9||Kaiser (E4) vs. Aiea (W5)||Kais 25-23, 25-22, 25-22||Waianae|
|4||Oct. 9||Waianae (W3) vs. Roosevelt (E6)||Wain 25-15, 25-18, 25-23||Waianae|
|5||Oct. 10||Kapolei (W2) vs. Farrington||Kapo 25-13, 22-25, 27-25, 25-11||Moanalua|
|6||Oct. 10||Moanalua (E1) vs. Nanakuli||Moan 25-15, 25-16, 25-12||Moanalua|
|7||Oct. 10||Kahuku (E2) vs. Waianae||Kah 25-18, 25-15, 25-14||Mililani|
|8||Oct. 10||Mililani (W1) vs. Kaiser||Mil 25-9, 25-17, 25-14||Mililani|
|9*||Oct. 14||Farrington vs. Nanakuli||Far 26-28, 18-25, 25-12, 25-21, 18-16||Kalani|
|10*||Oct. 14||Waianae vs. Kaiser||Wain 3-0||Kalani|
|11||Oct. 14||Kapolei vs. Moanalua||Moan 25-18, 25-22, 25-19||Moanalua|
|12||Oct. 14||Kahuku vs. Mililani||Mil 25-22, 25-17, 16-25, 25-23||Moanalua|
|13*||Oct. 15||Farrington vs. Waianae||Wain 25-18, 25-13, 15-24, 20-25, 15-12||Farrington|
|14*||Oct. 15||Kapolei vs. Kahuku||Kapo, 3-2||Farrington|
|15||Oct. 16||Moanalua vs. Mililani||Mil 15-25, 28-26, 25-14, 21-25, 15-10||Moanalua|
|* — consolation|
|1||Oct. 9||Kalani (E2) vs. Waialua (W3)||Kaln 25-23, 25-12, 25-14||Pearl City|
|2||Oct. 9||Pearl City (W2) vs. Kailua (E3)||PC 27-25, 25-7, 25-13||Pearl City|
|3||Oct. 10||Campbell (W1) vs. Kalani||Kaln 23-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-22||McKinley|
|4||Oct. 10||McKinley (E1) vs. Pearl City||PC 25-18, 25-21, 14-25, 25-19||McKinley|
|5||Oct. 16||Kalani vs. Pearl City||PC 25-17, 25-21, 25-21||Moanalua|