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Emotional HBA topples Maryknoll

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Forget energy conservation for Hawaii Baptist Academy.

The sixth-ranked Eagles opened up a stretch of five matches in six days with an explosive defeat of fifth-ranked Maryknoll, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21, in boys volleyball action last night at HBA.

HBA tapped into a deep well of energy at critical moments against the Spartans, especially once Maryknoll took the first set. The chief prospectors were outside hitters Chad Barretta and Michael Fisher, who combined for 36 kills.

With four more matches to play over the next five days, including against third-ranked ‘Iolani today, HBA coach Teoni Obrey hopes their well doesn’t run dry.

"We didn’t have much energy in past tournaments. We learned a lot from that, and we have to play with a lot of energy in order to be successful," Obrey said. "We’re a young team; we have to continue that emotion and keep on playing at that high energy level. That’s the only chance that we have."

Barretta and Fisher, with coaxing from the HBA coaches and senior middle Nathan Le, let loose with fist pumps and primal yells after big points, including the last two by Barretta, putting the match away after Maryknoll narrowed a late five-point gap to three.

But can HBA keep it up for the next several days?

"That’s something that we knew we’re going to have a struggle with, but getting this first win is definitely huge. We just gotta carry that on," Barretta said.

The two teams were fresh in each other’s minds, as the Spartans defeated the Eagles in three sets in the Hawaii Boys Volleyball Invitational on Saturday, a match that did not count in the ILH standings.

In this rematch in ILH play, HBA (4-1) minimized its own mistakes and went heavily to its outside hitters to remain among the league’s Division II leaders.

Two evenly matched teams — Maryknoll is ranked 29th in the ESPN RISE Fab 50 boys volleyball poll, while HBA is 33rd — couldn’t gain separation of more than a few points on the other most of the way. But determined sophomore setter Mason Ohta wore down the Spartans by putting up ball after ball for the 6-foot-4 junior Barretta and 6-foot-6 sophomore Fisher, tallying 36 assists.

For Maryknoll (3-2), it was a disappointing defeat in a critical swing game; there’s little room for error in the elite ILH Division I standings.

HBA tried to serve directly at Maryknoll’s top hitter, Brian Fung, and make other Spartans take the swings. Fung still got 15 kills, but it was clear the visitors were a little out of sorts by the end, with several attack errors.

"We made a lot of errors, so hard to win a game like that," Maryknoll coach Shawn Doo said. "(HBA) rebounded well. We took the first game and they came out firing. They play on emotion and we didn’t take advantage of that in the beginning."


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