It was one big hit after another from high over the middle of the net from the Pearl City attack.
And lots of blocks, too.
Two Chargers middles provided the thrust to give the school its first OIA girls volleyball championship since 1997 on Wednedsay night with a 25-17, 25-21, 25-21 sweep of Kalani at the Moanalua gym. Unlike the title 22 years ago, this one came in Division II.
It was a thrilling experience for the girls in purple and white, who are hoping the momentum continues into the upcoming state tournament.
“I feel like we worked too hard to not bring anything home,” said setter Madison Garcia, who finished with 35 assists. “So we deserve that banner and that title. We made a legacy for Pearl City because it’s been so long since we got a championship. I’m glad it’s this year. I feel like we have the most athletic middles in the whole OIA and no matter what, they’ll do good. We have the potential to win states.”
Those middles are Emma Harada-Suaava (12 kills, five blocks) and Jaynah Martin (11 kills, two blocks). Three other Chargers combined for four blocks
“We tried to prepare for their middles,” Kalani coach Janeen Waialae said. “We just couldn’t slow them down.”
Chargers outside hitters Noelani Feliciano (seven kills) and Kenya Glenn (five kills) also lended a big hand to the offense.
“States is going to be tough,” said Pearl City coach Dayne Teves, whose team improved to 8-5 and clinched a seeded berth in next week’s tournament, which begins Wednesday. “This (OIA) was our biggest goal. We’ll savor the moment and then focus on states. All I know is the ILH is always tough.”
An OIA team has never won a D-II girls volleyball state championship.
As the OIA D-II runners-up, the Falcons (7-7) are also going to be competing at states. They didn’t give up the ship easily. In the first two sets, there were 18 ties and seven lead changes.
“My kids started to overanalyze and overthink,” Waialae said. “They began to question themselves and hesitate. I could feel their tension.”
As for the bid at states, Waialae said, “My brain can only handle so much information. I haven’t thought about states. As long as the kids fight, that’s all I ask.”
Maya Hamaoka led the Kalani offense with 12 kills.
“We could have had more discipline,” Hamaoka said. “We could have taken care of our side better, with hitting, passing and setting. But, heck yeah, (at states) we’ll fight even harder than we did today and make sure we go all the way. We’re going to be the first (OIA team to win a D-II state title).”