POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 11:05 a.m. HST, Apr 29, 2011
Moanalua proved itself twice over in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference.
Now Na Menehune are one win from adding Red to their resume.
Besides a brief letdown in the second set, unbeaten Moanalua had little trouble in rolling to a 25-16, 19-25, 25-12, 25-14 victory over Pearl City in the OIA Red tournament last night at McKinley. In the double-elimination format, Na Menehune (15-0) will face either Leilehua or Pearl City next Thursday for a chance at their first OIA Red title. A loss means they get a second shot.
“We’re ready, we’re excited,” said Moanalua senior hitter Richard Harpole, who had a match-high 25 kills. “We’re going to show that we’re not just lucky to have won OIA D-II. We can play at the Red Division, just like everybody else, and we can win at this level and compete.”
Moanalua, which won the OIA White the past two years, moved up to the Red this season and is ranked No. 6 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 Poll.
But with junior hitter Ahren DePonte out with a sprained ankle, it was critical for Harpole to have a good game.
Good would be an understatement.
Harpole had 11 of his 25 kills in Game 1 as he blasted over, around and through the Chargers’ block. His thunderous shots late in the match seemed to drain the life from Pearl City, the fifth-place team out of the OIA Red West that surprised on its way to winning three straight matches in the tournament.
“(Harpole) came out really hot, and it looks like in that second game we kind of faltered,” Na Menehune coach Doug Hee said. “But I knew he was going to pick it up later on. He was really in control this time, we’re really proud of him. He was really keeping his cool on this one.”
Pearl City (8-8) went to junior opposite Joseph Hammond (12 kills) in the early going, but Chargers coach Stephanie Shigemasa looked elsewhere for production once Moanalua began to pull away. Na Menehune jumped out to leads of 13-4 in Game 3 and 14-7 in Game 4, and the Chargers never recovered.
“That third set, they came back with a vengeance,” Shigemasa said. “They’re a real talented team, they got firepower from everywhere.”
Moanalua sophomore setter Zarin Augustiro set up his teammates with 26 assists, the bulk of which were on Harpole kills. Tahi Caldwell added seven kills on quick sets down the middle.
Pearl City already defeated Leilehua once in the tournament. They’ll have to do so again on Tuesday for another crack at Moanalua.
Ashley Kahapea-Wagner was 4-for-5 to ignite a 17-hit attack as the Saints advanced to the state playoffs with a victory yesterday over the Lancers.
St. Francis will play Kauai at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Kauai Stadium for a state berth.
The Saints scored in six of seven innings yesterday. Kahapea-Wagner also scored four times, while Kelsie Hee had three RBIs, a homer and scored three runs and winning pitcher Tiffany Trantham was 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
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