Molokai gives MIL first state volleyball crown
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 02:39 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2010
In control through two matches, the Molokai volleyball team suddenly found a challenge in the state championship match.
Leading just 10-9 in Set 3, Molokai coach Matt Helm called a timeout but didn't have to say much to his team.
"Our coach, he calls a timeout and we talk amongst ourselves," said Molokai outside hitter Kalei Vaivai. "We remind each other what our goals are. We remind each other what we came here for ... for each other."
Second-seeded Molokai then pulled away to beat top-seeded University High 25-12, 25-10, 25-18, to win last night's Division II title match of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships at McKinley High School.
"We were fired up," said Vaivai, who had 19 kills and was named the tournament's most outstanding player. "We came here wanting to win the state title. Who doesn't come here not wanting to win the state title?"
» Molokai def. University 25-12, 25-10, 25-18
"I was really tense and my teammates helped me a lot to relax," Vaivai said. "I really commend them for that. They really helped me through this whole game."
University (16-4), the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, rallied in Set 3, cutting a six-point deficit to 10-9 on Kaena Kaina's kill that forced Molokai to call a timeout. Suddenly, there were signs of the close match that many had envisioned.
"We are a good team, we got good players, we had some pride and we wanted to show that," said University coach Walt Quitan. "Unfortunately we didn't do as good as we wanted to. But it was a good season."
Quynne Eharis' kill helped the Junior Rainbows close to 13-11 before the Farmers scored the next six points. Kalei Adolpho had two kills, Kailana Ritte-Camara had a kill and Natalia Levi had a pancake dig — one of 19 digs she had on the night — that went over the net and dropped for a kill.
University got no closer than five the rest of the match, and when it was finally over, Molokai's bench rushed the floor to join the team in a giant embrace while the coaching staff and trainer had a group hug near the bench.
"It's a great feeling, it's hard to describe," Molokai coach Matt Helm said. "We came to states our first year and took sixth. The next two years, we took fourth. Last year, we took third and now it's kind of nice to take first. It's a nice steppingstone."
Kainoa Ocasek had seven kills and Eharis had five for University, which was looking to win its first state title since 1990, when there was just one state classification.
Adolpho, Molokai's 6-foot hitter who will play basketball and volleyball next year at the University of Hawaii, didn't have her first kill until the beginning of Set 2 and finished with just five. But the Farmers got big production from everywhere else.
Levi, who rarely gets swings, had three straight kills to put Molokai ahead 12-5 in Set 2 and finished with eight. Ritte-Camara had seven kills, using angled shots to get the ball in.
"That's what makes our team really click," Helm said. "When one person is not having their best game or when they're keying on one person, another person steps up."