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Mira Costa crushes 'Iolani

By Kaylee Noborikawa

LAST UPDATED: 1:48 a.m. HST, Apr 10, 2011

The Mira Costa boys volleyball team might have spent some time lounging on Waikiki Beach yesterday, but the Mustangs were all business against ‘Iolani in the Clash of the Titans Volleyball Tournament at Hemmeter Field House last night.

The Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in ESPN's Rise Magazine and winners of the prestigious Best of the West Tournament three weeks ago, swept the 18th-ranked Raiders 25-16, 26-24, 25-20.

In the second match of the night, Tui Tuileta racked up 14 kills as Punahou defeated Santa Barbara 25-19, 25-11, 24-26, 25-17.

In the opener, Mira Costa went over and around the undersized Raiders, hitting .571 in the first set with just one error.

"I think in Game 1 we were thinking ‘Oh my God, we're playing the No. 1 team in the nation,' and lost sight of doing all the things we practiced," ‘Iolani coach Mike Among said.

"I think that got to us a little bit. It shut down our communication, which doesn't help, and shut down our energy, which doesn't help, so as a result the first game was kind of lopsided."

Outside hitter Christopher Orenic frustrated the Raiders with five kills and no errors. His fifth point gave the Mustangs a 17-9 lead and they never were threatened thereafter.

Senior Logan Nowack was the lone spark for ‘Iolani, with a match-high 13 kills hitting from the front and back rows — six of them in the first set. Gabriel Vega added nine kills for the Raiders.

"I'm real proud of my boys for coming back in Game 2. I felt Logan did a great job of staying with them, playing at their level," Among said.

"They played like we've been off for a few days and making sand castles all day, but they steadied out," Mira Costa coach Mike Ninnis said.

"The second game they went a little flat, but it was nice to see that we got some of the second strings in. Brought in Jonny Rawson, who made some nice plays, and it's good to see him get into the game. He was pretty excited since his brother (Matt) played here (at UH) and he's going to school here next year."

The second set started similar to the first, with Mira Costa jumping to an 18-12 lead.

But two consecutive service and hitting errors shifted the momentum toward the Raiders.

An overpass kill by ‘Iolani sub Andrew Switaj riled up the crowd and forced the Mustangs to take their first timeout at 20-18.

Both teams rallied until Mira Costa held a 24-23 lead with a back-row kill from 6-foot-5 senior DJ White.

The Mustangs had a chance to close the set, but a service error by Orenic forced the game into overtime.

Another ‘Iolani service error gave Mira Costa match point at 25-24, and setter Kameron Bain hammered a tight overpass off Nowack to seal the game.

The third set slowly slipped away from ‘Iolani, as Mira Costa's second string entered at 16-10 and closed out the match.

The Mustangs will face Punahou, No. 5 in the nation, today at 7 p.m. The Raiders will take on No. 19 Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. at Hemmeter Field House.

Punahou dominated in nearly every category, stuffing 17 balls and serving seven aces. Sean Gruebner added 10 kills, while Brandon Pitzer and Benjamin Lam scored seven kills each for the Buffanblu.

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