Oahu champs move on to volleyball final 4

Moanalua's Karson Cruz and Moanalua's Austin Matautia set up a double block in a win over Kamehameha. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser
Moanalua’s Karson Cruz and Moanalua’s Austin Matautia set up a double block in a win over Kamehameha. Bruce Asato / Star-Advertiser

Punahou and Moanalua moved on to state volleyball’s final four in the Oahu regionals last night.

Moanalua beat Kamehameha in five and Punahou put away Waianae in three.

Kills from Karson Cruz and Skyler Engleman extended Moanalua’s lead to 11-7 in Set 5. Engleman’s kill and a Kamehameha hitting error made it 13-9, forcing the Warriors to call a timeout.

David Kaaa’s kill cut the deficit to 13-10. Cruz responded with a kill to put Na Menehune at match point and Kamehameha hit long to end the match.

“We just thought about last year when we came so close, when were in the fourth set and leading against Kamehameha-Hawaii (in state semifinals)and they came back and won,” Austin Matautia said. “We just had to focus on that and really fight back.”

Kahiau Machado had 23 kills and 21 digs for the Warriors (12-4).

“We had to focus on our side, do the little things, not let the plays they were making affect us and just siding out,” Matautia said.

Garrison Gabriel led Moanalua with 15 digs.

“He’s been a leader in the back row whether it’s on defense or serve receive,” Matautia said. “Without him, we wouldn’t have been able to make the plays we made today.”

Punahou scored in bunches against Waianae, closing out Sets 1 and 2 on 17-4 runs. Buffanblu reserves saw action throughout the match. Carlton Bradley had five kills off the bench and D.J. McInerny had 11 assists.

“We have a strong bench and we trust them as much as we trust our starters,” Ma’a said.

Poe said the Seariders knew it would be a challenge against the Buffanblu. Waianae has just four players over 6 feet while Punahou has just three players under 6 feet.

“We put it on the court and showed what we got,” Poe said.


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