Both ‘Iolani and St. Francis figured it was a good time for some lineup tinkering. The Raiders just did it slightly better.
The Division I Raiders survived a scare from the visiting Division II Saints in a 27-25, 25-19 win last night.
With the Interscholastic League of Honolulu second round looming next week, No. 10 ‘Iolani (7-4) tested out a 6-2 offense with setter Loxley Keala splitting time between her primary role as a facilitator, and moonlighting as an effective hitter.
The 5-foot-11 sophomore made timely plays in both roles, tallying team highs of seven kills and seven assists.
"We’re trying to gear up for our second round, giving our team another option," ‘Iolani coach Jenic Tumaneng said. "It’s something that we’re working on, but yet she’s our primary setter. … Generally, we want to keep her at 5-1. We were just trying to see how it would work out."
It was enough last night — barely. The Raiders enjoyed a 19-13 lead in the first game, only to see the Saints go on an 8-1 run, thanks to some inspired defense following a timeout. The Saints (6-6) even had a chance to take the frame, leading 24-23, but an ‘Iolani attack that looked to be headed out was dug up and the Raiders went on to win the point.
"We didn’t really take it like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is terrible,’ " said Keala, who put down the dump shot kill to tie it at 24. "We took it as a challenge that we wanted to get past."
Instead of dropping the game and going halfway toward its third straight loss, ‘Iolani regrouped following another Saints advantage and claimed the next three points.
The teams played evenly until 16-all in the second game, when the Raiders turned on the afterburners for a match-deciding 9-3 run.
St. Francis showed flashes of potential during its toughest three-game stretch of the season — losses to No. 1 Kamehameha, No. 2 Punahou and ‘Iolani last night.
Sophomore Angel Savea had a match-high eight kills for the Saints.
"I gotta say the girls are pretty resilient because we changed up our lineup," Saints coach Sonja Samsonas said. "So we’re just hoping we’re going to peak at the right time."