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Sand plan helps Kahuku win OIA volleyball title

  • FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Kahuku celebrated after beating Moanalua to win the OIA Red Conference title.
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The in-sand-ity continues.

Kahuku took Moanalua’s best shots and still managed a 25-23, 25-21, 28-26 sweep to claim the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference championship last night at McKinley Student Council Gym.

Kahuku (14-2) will have a first-round bye when the state championships begin Wednesday on Maui. It was a fitting end to the OIA season for Kahuku, a team that worked out at the beach six times a week during the summer — a 7 a.m. routine coach Kaniela Kalama calls "in-sand-ity."

Setter Teuila Nautu was unstoppable, setting teammates in every direction to stifle a hearty effort by Na Menehune. Nautu finished with 34 assists and five kills, including a timely left-handed dump on game point to end the opening set.

"We’ve been working on being consistent. We used to drop low and got super high, so we’ve worked on that," Blake said.

Sophomore Lepeka Kalulu-Sugai pounded 13 kills and senior Elizabeth Blake had nine. Ho’onani Apo and middle Pati Anae had six kills each and fortified the Lady Raiders’ block.

"We move on to states! Hopefully, we win states," Apo said.

Though they registered just two roofs, their control of the net kept Moanalua from running away during the few runs they started.

"Every time we started to play well, they played better," Na Menehune coach Tommy Lake said. "We didn’t play as hard Tuesday as we did tonight."

Kahuku, ranked No. 4 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10, downed No. 6 Moanalua on Tuesday to remain unbeaten in the double-elimination format. Moanalua had to rally in the fifth set to overcome Mililani on Wednesday to stay alive, but fatigue was not an issue yesterday.

"We were ready to play. We had enough energy," Lake added. "(Kahuku) has a little size on us and they have an outstanding setter, and Ho’o and Lizzy are really smart hitters. They can hit anywhere and they’re very dependable."

Erin Perez led Moanalua (14-3) with 14 kills despite a constant double-team at the net. Courtney Calicdan added 10 kills and Courtney Uyeda dished out 32 assists.

Moanalua had its chances even after falling behind 7-0 in the opening set. Eight times, Na Menehune climbed within one point, but Kahuku responded each time before Nautu ended the set with a crafty dump shot on the right side.

Moanalua took a 6-1 lead in the second set, but Kahuku rallied for a 13-12 lead and never relinquished it. Two aces by middle Tyra Williams helped the Lady Raiders overcome six hitting errors to win the set.

Moanalua led 12-8 in the third after a pair of aces by Kassie-Ann Kiriu-Dela Cruz. The lead changed hands seven times in the set and Moanalua had a 23-21 lead after another ace by Kiriu-Dela Cruz. However, Kahuku got a kill from Apo to tie it and an ace by Jasmine Vivas to take a 24-23 lead.

Apo’s kill gave Kahuku a 27-26 lead and a hitting error by Perez ended the night.

Net notes

The second annual Bump, Set and Spike for the Cure tournament will be held tomorrow at La Pietra, 2-6 p.m. Punahou, Kamehameha, University, Hawaii Baptist and St. Francis are participating in the exhibition event. A $3 donation at the door will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation in the fight against breast cancer.

 

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