KEAAU » Pearl City went from stunned to stunners.
The Chargers met a fierce Waianae comeback attempt with one of their own in a 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 20-25, 15-10 marathon match on the first day of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships at Keaau High.
For the second straight year, the Chargers (9-9) knocked off the Seariders (9-9) for the right to face top-seeded Punahou in the Division I quarterfinals — but not without a healthy dose of drama this time.
The Seariders surged all the way back after dropping the first two sets, even taking a 4-0 lead in the fifth. It was all for naught; just in time, Pearl City was reminded how and why it found itself on the Big Island, facing one of its Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West rivals. That scenario seemed implausible just a week ago.
Pearl City eked into the OIA tournament as the Red West’s fifth and final seed. But the Chargers surprised several teams, including top West seed Leilehua and Waianae, to finish third and advance to states. That never-say-die spirit helped the Chargers avert a total collapse yesterday.
"We tried to keep fighting. Play with heart. If they wanted it, they were going to have to take it from us," said Chargers senior setter Cory Quiamzon, a four-year varsity player who spread around 45 assists. "I guess it shows that, from the beginning of the year, we want to show that we’ve matured, seeing how we bounced back and got back in this game. It just shows a little maturity, that we can count on each other, trust each other, and that helped each other get this win."
Quiamzon got four teammates — junior Joseph Hammond (15), Jerry Gallardo (13), Josiah DeMello (11) and Sean Chang (11) — involved for double-figure kills as the Chargers rediscovered their offense just in time. Trailing Waianae 4-0, Pearl City went on a 13-3 run and closed it out with a swing off the Seariders’ block by DeMello.
Pearl City coach Stephanie Shigemasa attributed the sudden change of momentum to the service game — and some borrowing of their foe’s resiliency.
"In the fifth set, (I said), ‘It’s up to you guys, what you’re going to do and how bad you guys want it. It’s in your hands.’ Fortunately they pulled through," Shigemasa said. "Once you give Waianae a lead and they’re emotionally charged, they’re hard to come back from. … They’re a team that never gives up."
The Seariders looked lost early, but got it together in Set 3, while the Pearl City attack sputtered. Waianae went on to outhit the Chargers .121 to .098 for the match.
The Waianae bench, which was up and cheering at the outset of Set 5, went quiet in a hurry. It was still a valiant rally by Wilhelm Wagner Jr.’s team. Senior hitter Werner Nansen led Waianae with 14 kills, while senior middle James Rosa added 10 kills and four blocks. Setter Blake Marinas played aggressively in dishing 38 assists.
"At least they fought," Wagner said. "(Pearl City) wanted it more. They came out the better team, more consistent."
Kamehameha-Hawaii 3, Leilehua 0
Freshman hitter Kaehu Kaaa posted a match-high 14 kills to lead the Warriors (13-4) past the Mules 25-23, 25-20, 25-17 and into the quarterfinals against fourth-seeded Baldwin today.
"We feel pretty good about what we did in the game. Still made a lot of mistakes, we’re a young team," Kamehameha-Hawaii coach Sam Thomas said. "We still have a lot of growing to do. Our season’s been kind of up and down … A sweep, to do it at home in front of some hometown fans, is always really nice."
Senior hitter Brock Paikai led the Mules (15-4) with 10 kills.
King Kekaulike 3, Waipahu 2
Jordan Botelho had a match-high 16 kills and teammate Javon Swain recorded 10 as Na Alii pulled out a 26-24, 21-25, 21-25, 25-18, 18-16 victory over the Marauders in a match played at Waiakea High.
Waipahu (10-7) was led by Duketoa Tili’s team-high 15 kills, while Tatupu Tatupu added 14.
With leads of 5-0 and 10-2 in Set 5, it looked as if King Kekaulike (13-2) would cruise, but numerous errors helped Waipahu mount a furious comeback, which eventually handed the Marauders two chances at match point.
The match went in favor of the second-place team from the MIL after a Waipahu hitting error ended the match.
Kamehameha 3, Mililani 0
University of Southern California-bound Micah Christenson led all attackers with 13 kills and hit .417 as the Warriors swept the Trojans 25-11, 25-22, 25-9 at Waiakea.
Kamehameha (18-3), which outhit Mililani (10-8) .347 to minus-.063, had a small scare in Set 2 when the Trojans got as close as 21-19. The Warriors took control with two Christenson kills to win the set. Mililani was led by Taylor Tuia’s five kills.