Underdog Kalaheo hoping to peak in OIA final vs. Moanalua

Kalaheo's Liam York put one of his 19 kills down past the block of Castle's Neilen Kahoopii (9) and Finefeuiaki Mataele (10) in Monday's OIA D-I boys volleyball semifinal at Radford. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

There might be all sorts of reasons to believe Moanalua is destined to win the OIA boys volleyball championship for the seventh time in eight seasons.

After all, Na Menehune were smooth as silk in a 25-18, 25-21, 25-15 sweep of Leilehua in the semifinals on Monday night at muggy James Alegre Gymnasium. What Moanalua (12-1) hasn’t seen in quite some time, however, is a 1-2 punch that Kalaheo brings.

The Mustangs (12-1) were dominant against Castle in the other semifinal, getting 19 kills from Liam York and 17 from Tyler Wemple in a 29-27, 25-20, 25-22 sweep of Castle. Kalaheo had occasional issues, but getting clean looks and good sets from Reggaen Eugenio (42 assists) was not one of them.

“Our serve-receive could’ve been better. We made some stupid mistakes,” said Kalaheo coach Sivan Leoni, who guided the Mustangs to their only OIA D-I title in 2005. “It’s going to be a fight for both sides.”

York was a flame-thrower from every angle, and even as Castle kept the ball in play over and over, he kept bringing heat, as did Wemple. Now Kalaheo will face a Moanalua defense that is as air-tight as any, with “overall ball control that is second to none,” according to Leoni.

“Anything goes on Wednesday,” said York, who will play at Springfield College (Mass.) next season. “We’ll have to play our best and peak at the right time.”

The Mustangs got consistent play from middle Anthony Caswell (three kills, two blocks) and Jordan Neufeldt (two kills).

Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting is expecting a different look. His team swept Kalaheo early in the regular season, but that was under different circumstances.”

“They are a much different team this time around. Liam is back (from injury) and they’re looking more confident because of it. It’s going to be a good battle,” Cabanting said.

Kalaheo’s Tyler Wemple (8) celebrated after Reggaen Eugenio (11) put down a kill against Castle in the OIA D-I boys volleyball semifinals on Monday. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

OIA Playoffs

Updated: Apr. 24
First round
4/17-G1Waipahu* (W4)Farrington (E5)Far 25-20, 25-22, 24-26, 33-31
4/17-G2Kaiser (E3)Waianae (W6)Kais 25-20, 14-25, 30-28, 20-25, 15-10
4/17-G3Castle** (E4)Radford (W5)Cast 26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21
4/17-G4Kapolei (W3)Roosevelt (E6)Kapo 25-16, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19
4/18-G5Moanalua (E1)FarringtonMoan 25-15, 25-22, 25-19
4/18-G6Leilehua*** (W2)KaiserLei 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 25-16
4/18-G7Mililani (W1)CastleCast 21-25, 25-23, 24-26, 27-25, 15-13
4/18-G8Kalaheo**** (E2)KapoleiKalh 23-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-20
Consolation semis—@ Farrington
4/22-G9FarringtonKaiserFar, 2-1
4/22-G10MililaniKapoleiMil, 2-1
Semifinals—@ Radford
4/22-G11MoanaluaLeilehuaMoan 25-18, 25-21, 25-15
4/22-G12CastleKalaheoKalh 29-27, 25-20, 25-22
Fifth place—@ Farrington
4/23—G13FarringtonMililaniMil, 2-0
Third place—@ Farrington
Championship—@ Radford
4/24—G15MoanaluaKalaheoMoan 25-19, 22-25, 26-24, 26-24
Quarterfinals—@ Nanakuli
4/17—G1Nanakuli (W2)Kailua (E3)Nan 25-17, 25-8, 25-16
4/17—G2Kaimuki (E2)Pearl City (W3)PC 20-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15, 16-14
Semifinals—@ Kahuku
4/18—G3Kahuku (E1)NanakuliNan 23-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-23
4/18—G4Waialua (W1)Pearl CityPC 19-25, 25-22, 25-1925-14
Championship—@ Radford
4/24—G5NanakuliPearl CityPC 25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 25-17
* — @ Kaiser
** — @ Kapolei
*** — @ Moanalua
**** — @ Mililani


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