(Here’s the long version of my story on the Kamehameha/Kamehameha-Hawaii and Moanalua-Baldwin quarterfinal matches at the boys volleyball state tourney on Thursday.)
It’s not often both sides of the gym yell, “Imua!” at the end of a time out.
For nearly two full sets, it was Kamehameha’s Kapalama squad that was in control, more or less, on the verge of perhaps sweeping No. 3 seed Kamehameha-Hawaii. But the Big Islanders turned it around, rallying from a 23-17 deficit in the second game for a 23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-20 win last night at Farrington’s Richard Kitamura Memorial Fieldhouse.
Evan Enriques was stellar with 35 kills and three blocks to fire up KS-Hawaii.
“We did something we didn’t do all season, get everybody going at the same time,” the 6-foot-1 sophomore said.
KS-Hawaii (17-0) advanced to tonight’s semifinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships. After a grueling 100-minute battle with their Kapalama cousins last night, the Big Island champs will meet No. 2 seed Moanalua in a 5 p.m. match at McKinley.
Moanalua swept Baldwin and should have fresh legs for the matchup. KS-Hawaii, which had an opening-round bye, might be the more fatigued unit after being pushed to the edge. Enriques was outstanding, but it wasn’t until he got more help that the Big Island squad turned the match around.
“We know who their go-to guys are. We’ve got to trade on what we do well: serve tough, receive well. I think we got the offense to do it,” KS-Hawaii coach Guy Enriques said. “Evan will do his job, but the real key is the other guys and (setter) Daniel Aina, running this.”
Kaipo Woolsey (nine kills), Israel Trusdell (six kills) and D.J. Grant-Johnson (four kills) stepped up in the nick of time. Aina finished with 51 assists, using his coach’s son, Evan, as the primary target.
Middle Savili Bartley led the ILH runner-up Warriors (13-4) with 16 kills. Cullen Mosher added 14 kills, and Kamuela Grugier-Hill and Max Castanera chipped in 10 kills each in a balanced attack. Setter Kaehu Kaaa, a sophomore, tallied 47 assists in what was mostly a solid all-around performance.
It just so happened, KS-Hawaii was ready in this rematch. The teams met a few weeks ago in Kamehameha-Kapalama’s inaugural Kamehameha Cup tourney, and the Big Island squad learned plenty in a loss to the home team. This time, Enriques wasn’t a sole standout, not with the likes of Trusdell, a 6-foot-4 senior, playing perhaps the best match of his career.
“Our last time up here, (Trusdell) is 300 percent better. Both of our middles (Trusdell and Woolsey) are legitimate on offense now. We’re still small with the block, but we’re better now.”
With just one ace all night, KS-Hawaii didn’t look potent statistically, but their mastery of the floater was perhaps the biggest key.
“We had a lot of floaters. A lot of people like to jump serve, but we hit our targets tonight. It takes their middles out and we’re stronger as a team,” coach Enriques said.
The opening set was tight all the way, with Kapalama taking its biggest lead at 24-21 on a service error. Bartley’s block and kill closed out the set.
Kapalama surged to a 23-17 lead in the second game and looked primed to take command of the match, but Trusdell put down a kill and Evan Enriques went back to serve. KS-Hawaii closed out the second set with an 8-0 run as Enriques’ shifty floater caused problems for Kapalama. Grant-Johnson’s block on Bartley ended the set and evened the match at 1-all.
A 12-4 run midway through the third game put momentum on KS-Hawaii’s side. KS-Hawaii’s serve was the centerpiece; Kapalama hit .216 in the set, while KS-Hawaii hit .536. Woolsey, a 6-foot junior, and Trusdell combined for six kills in the third.
Kapalama stayed close in the fourth set before KS-Hawaii broke a tie with a 9-2 run. After three kills by Evan Enriques, the Keaau-campus squad led 20-13. Kapalama pulled within 20-16 after Mosher’s kill capped a long rally, but Trusdell roofed Mosher and Grant-Johnson came through with another clutch kill. A hitting error by Kapalama ended it.
“They really played as a team together. They’re really scrappy,” Mosher said. “As the game went along, their serving had more pace, and our passing fell apart.”
For one set, the Baldwin Bears managed to keep hope alive.
Then Na Menehune of Moanalua woke up and left no doubt. The unbeaten Menehune dominated the rest of the way, landing nine aces on the night in a 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 sweep of Baldwin in the quarterfinals of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships.
A crowd of about 400 watched at Farrington’s Richard Kitamura Memorial Fieldhouse. Second-seeded Moanalua (16-0) moved into the semifinal round and will play either Kamehameha or Kamehameha-Hawaii in the 7 p.m. match at McKinley.
“All the kids, they served out of their minds,” Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting said of the team’s nine aces.
A balanced Moanalua attack kept Baldwin’s defense on its heels. Joshua Buted, a 5-foot-11 senior, led the way with nine kills and four aces. Southpaw Ahren DePonte added seven kills and two blocks, and Trevor Tsugawa added six kills and three blocks. Setter Zarin Augustiro delivered 28 assists.
“That kid killed us with the jump serves,” Baldwin coach Kalei Houpo said of Buted, though he could’ve said the same of reserve Austin Amian (two aces) and Augustiro (three aces). “Every time he went back, they got six, seven points.”
Kolby Kanetake sparked Moanalua’s back row, though Baldwin didn’t bring its normal attack because the passing game was off.
“I’ll continue to be tough on the kids,” Cabanting said, noting that they’ll have to cut down the mistakes to keep advancing. “It takes us awhile to get really settled in. In our previous matches, OIA championships, we just don’t begin well.”
Junior Brad Bowlin, a 6-4 middle, led the Bears (10-5) with eight kills and three blocks. He hit .769 in a limited number of swings (13).
“Our middles did good, but the connection with our setters was off,” Houpo said.
Gabe Ross added four kills and setter Justyn Kuhaulua-Feiteira had 13 assists. Kuhaulua-Feiteira had noted the day before that his mom is a big fan of Kanetake, a UH-bound libero.
“Their setter’s a really good player so we studied the video and got ready for him. They went to the middle a lot, but I feel we got them a out of their passing game,” Kanetake said. “He told me before the game that his mom said, ‘Hi.’ ”
When Baldwin did get a few clean looks, Kanetake was there with the perfect pass.
“He’s one of those kids I just trust and he understands where he needs to be,” Cabanting said. “He’s always asking for tape on other teams, on Baldwin. He studies the other teams’ tendencies.”
Moanalua hit .387 and finished with nine aces and nine service errors. Baldwin hit .109 and had one ace with seven service errors.
“We wish them luck,” Houpo added.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser