PUKALANI, Maui >> Chelsey Keoho and Faith Maafala drilled four aces each as five-time defending state champion Kamehameha held on for a 25-17, 23-25, 25-10, 28-26 win over third-seeded Kahuku Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I Girls Volleyball State Championships.
The Warriors will face unseeded Waiakea, which knocked out second-seeded Kamehameha-Maui, in Friday’s semifinal round.
Keoho, a libero, and Maafala, a freshman, were integral in a match that had myriad momentum swings. Kamehameha (20-2) finished with nine aces and just five service errors. Kahuku (14-3) had just three aces and nine service errors.
Misty Ma‘a pounded 13 kills, including two in the final stretch on plays down the middle. Trailing 23-22 in the fourth set, the Warriors called time out.
“Coach said to ‘Relax, calm down and take it one point at a time,’ ” said middle blocker Talia Jardin-Fermantez, who finished with 10 kills and five of her team’s eight blocks.
They went to a rarely-called play. Setter Aloha Robins-Hardy faked to Jardin-Fermantez in the middle, then fed Ma‘a, who roared in behind Jardin-Fermantez to put down a kill and tie the set.
Down 25-24, Kamehameha went to Ma‘a again with the same play to tie it, and Jardin-Fermantez gave the Warriors a 26-25 lead with a block of Kahuku’s Elizabeth Blake.
A serve out by Maafala followed, but Brit Kalepa sent her kill off a Kahuku block, and a bad connection between Lady Raiders setter Teuila Nautu and Lepeka Kalulu-Sugai led to a hitting error, ending the match.
“We had to play our best volleyball of the season,” Warriors coach Chris Blake said. “We got good execution against a very good team. We did a really good job of limiting their middle swings. Our team made great adjustments after set 2.”
Kahuku finished with 18 hitting errors to Kamehameha’s nine, but managed to stay close with scrappy defense.
“We talked about the little things, but we had the out serves, not passing well,” Kahuku coach Kaniela Kalama said of his Oahu Interscholastic Association champions.
“The third set, the momentum killed us,” he said of Kamehameha’s surge for a 2-1 lead. “Overall, I’m happy. Kamehameha is really good. We practiced for that, watched the tape, but we didn’t do the small, simple things.”
Kalepa had her best effort of the postseason, tallying 12 kills. Setter Alohi Robins-Hardy had 35 assists and two kills.
Blake led Kahuku with 12 kills. Kalulu-Sugai (nine kills), Ho‘onani Apo (eight) and Tyra Williams (seven) contributed to a balanced attack. Nautu finished with 33 assists and two kills.
Kahuku outblocked Kamehameha 9-8.
“It was different from yesterday,” Jardin-Fermantez said, referring to a sweep of Pearl City. “But it was kind of a flashback of Punahou. That was good, to start practicing against that kind of blocks.”
Kahuku entered the tourney ranked No. 3 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. Kamehameha is No. 2 in the poll.
Leaders — Kamehameha: Brittany-Ann Kalepa 12 kills; Misty Ma’a 12 kills; Talia Jardin 10 kills, 4 solo blocks. Kahuku: Lizzie Blake 11 kills; Lepeka Kalulu-Sugai 8 kills; Ho’onani Apo 8 kills.
Waiakea 3, Kamehameha-Maui 1
To overcome the aura of a University of Hawaii recruit, the Waiakea Warriors stayed true to their roots.
The unseeded Warriors, runner-up from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, turned a stalemate into a rousing 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-14 victory over No. 2-seeded Kamehameha-Maui.
KS-Maui (14-1) got 18 kills from UH-bound Ginger Long, but Waiakea’s resilient defense never let her get untracked after the second set. Long, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, had 12 kills in the first two sets and just six after that against a block led by Ashia Joseph.
“We’re excited. We’re ready to play tomorrow,” Joseph said of the semifinal matchup with Kamehameha (Kapalama). “We wanted it so much. It’s the first time a Big Island team has been in the semifinals.”
The undersized visitors from Waiakea (17-1) got 19 kills and five aces from Morgan Rapozo. Joseph added 10 kills and shared setting duties with several teammates in Waiakea’s unique offensive look. Joseph finished with 22 assists.
“We didn’t want to take it to five. We didn’t that pressure on us,” Rapozo said. “We felt like if we fired it up right then, we wouldn’t have to worry about playing a (fifth) 15-point game.”
Kerisa Pakani-Tsukiyama was another weapon with 10 kills and four aces. Waiakea racked up 11 aces, including six in the pivotal third set, and outblocked the taller home team 4-3.
Leimane Kane, a 5-11 sophomore, had eight kills for KS-Maui. Mailani Baz added six kills and Kaulana Ane chipped in with six.
KS-Maui had no hitting errors in the first set, but committed 15 in the next three games.
The third set had five lead changes, including a block by Janell Dulan on Long to give Waiakea a 19-18 lead. The game was tied at 23 when Rapozo drilled a kill, and a net violation on KS-Maui gave the visitors a 2-1 lead in the match.
Waiakea went on a 10-2 run midway through the fourth game to take command, 21-12, and never looked back.
“We knew Ginger Long was going to be a challenge for us, so we set up Ashia and got some touches. (Long) is a phenomenal player. We just didn’t want her to get 30 kills on us,” Waiakea coach Chris Leonard said. “We cut down on the errors, which has been a big problem for us.”
Libero Alyssalyn Buyuan led the back row for Waiakea.
Leaders — Waiakea: Morgan Rapozo 19 kills, 4 aces; Keirsa Pakani-Tsukiyama 10 kills. KS-Maui: Ginger Long 16 kills; Leimana Kane 8 kills; Sienna Davis 7 kills.
Kaiser 3, Kamehameha-Hawaii 2
Nikki Taylor had 19 kills as Kaiser held on to beat Kamehameha-Hawaii, 25-23, 25-17, 18-25, 19-25, 15-12. in a quarterfinal match at King Kekaulike High School.
Leaders — Kaiser: Nikki Taylor 19 kills; Haley Durham 12 kills, 5 blocks; Courtney Phillips 6 blocks. KS-Hawai’i: Katelynne Paleka-Kennedy 22 kills; Kanoe Salazar 11 kills.
Punahou 3, Mililani 0
Carly Kan amassed 13 kills to lead ILH champion Punahou to a 25-21, 25-11, 25-20 sweep of Mililani in a quarterfinal match at King Kekaulike High School.
Leaders — Punahou: Carly Kan 13 kills; Brigitte Russo 8 kills, Tai Manu-Olevao 7 kills. Mililani: Jordyn Keamo 6 kills, Syanne Cossey 5 kills.
NEW CITY NISSAN/HAWAII HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION DIVISION I GIRLS VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
At King Kekaulike
Kaiser def. Moanalua 26-24, 12-25, 25-23, 25-17
Mililani def. King Kekaulike 25-22, 25-21, 25-14
Waiakea def. Castle 25-19, 21-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-7
Kamehameha def. Pearl City 25-12, 25-12, 25-17
At King Kekaulike
Moanalua def. King Kekaulike, 23-25, 25-13, 15-5
Kaiser def. Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-23, 17-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-12
8: Punahou def. Mililani 25-21, 25-11, 25-20
Pearl City def. Castle, 27-25, 25-16
Kamehameha def. Kahuku 25-16, 23-25, 25-10, 28-26
Waiakea def. Kamehameha-Maui 23-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-14
At King Kekaulike
Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Mililani, 5 p.m.
Kaiser vs. Punahou, 7 p.m.
Kahuku vs. Kamehameha-Maui, 5 p.m.
Kamehameha vs. Waiakea, 7 p.m.
At King Kekaulike
Consolation championship: Moanalua vs. Pearl City, 1 p.m.
Fifth-place match, 2:30 p.m.
Third-place match, 4 p.m.
Championship match, 6 p.m.