They are the slayers of Dragons. Now the Hawaii Baptist Eagles would like to vanquish the Spartans.
HBA got 17 kills and three aces from sophomore Isaac Liva in a 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 sweep of Honokaa on Friday in the semifinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II Boys Volleyball State Championships.
A crowd of about 400 watched the semifinals at Farrington’s Richard Kitamura Fieldhouse. Three-time defending champion HBA will meet the Seabury Hall Spartans in Saturday’s D-II final at Blaisdell Arena at 5 p.m.
Liva, a 6-foot-4 outside hitter, was the equalizer and then some.
"Every time we have to play our best and leave everything on the court. A lot of what fuels us is our bench, always cheering for us and keeping our heads in it," Liva said. "Coach (Teoni Obrey) said, ‘You make a mistake, flush it and move on.’ "
Honokaa’s stubborn defense refused to budge for much of the match, but eventually melted down in set three.
"They were true to what they do. They passed very well. It was a sideout game in the second game," Obrey said. "We couldn’t get them out of system."
HBA’s defense was equally up to task, however, with a strong block provided by Liva, 6-4 sophomore Caleb Fisher and 6-2 Brett Miller. Defensive specialist Matthew Kishaba was also instrumental.
Fisher added eight kills, while Miller had four kills and three blocks. B.J. Hosaka dished out 34 assists.
HBA (12-2) was efficient in the opening set, hitting .414. Liva had seven kills without a hitting error as the Eagles opened a 20-13 lead and smothered Honokaa’s outside hitters. The Dragons hit .167 in game 1.
Honokaa went to its quick-set middle attack in the second set and found success. Cody Lindsey, a 6-2 middle, pounded three kills in a game that had four lead changes.
"They ran that middle attack and we had a hard time finding it. They run it quick and their setter (Makana Loo) does a great job," Obrey said.
Twice, the Dragons got within one point. Loo’s kill brought Honokaa within 22-21, but HBA scored the last three points to open a 2-0 lead in the match.
By the third set, the Dragons had little fire left. HBA opened a 12-1 lead and coasted the rest of the way.
"Trying to compete with a team as well-rounded as that, it’s hard," Honokaa assistant coach Shelton Kalilikane said. "They’re a solid team, real disciplined. They serve tough. They block tough and they’ve got height. We have the shortest middles in our league, so we just try to use our speed."
Cjay Carvalho led Honokaa (9-7) with seven kills and added a block. Loo finished with 23 assists and one ace.
Seabury Hall 3, Kau 0
Blake Rizzo drilled 14 kills and added two blocks to lead the second-seeded Spartans to a 25-23, 25-22, 25-16 sweep of the Trojans.
Jost Makena, a 6-1 junior, added 11 kills and four blocks for the MIL champions. Nyck Yashiro had 26 assists for Seabury Hall, which hit .289.
Seabury Hall, which won the D-II state crown in 2010, has been in a state of adjustment all season due to injuries. The Spartans got some key players back recently, only to lose Cameron King, a 6-1 senior, with a severe ankle sprain.
Coach Caleb Palmer saw his new-look squad sweep Hanalani in the quarters but wasn’t pleased with its play. That changed against Kau.
"Kau fought hard and they’ve got some big hitters. We were just lucky to come out with a little more precise execution," he said.
Cameron Enriques, a 5-8 junior, led Kau (8-8) with 18 kills. He faced a tall block all match, however, and the Trojans trailed for most of the three sets. Larry-Dan Al-Navarro and Chance Emmsley-Ah Yee added five kills each. Anthony Emmsley-Ah Yee chipped in with four kills. Brian Gascon had a team-high 23 assists with five kills. Lehre Vidal added six assists, all in the third set.
King will be watching, walking boot on his right ankle. "It’s been a hard adjustment, but I’m glad to see them pull through," the two-sport standout said. "A bunch of our players had to learn new positions."
That includes Rizzo, who moved from opposite to middle, replacing King.
Aiea def. Hanalani 25-22, 25-12
Kapaa def. Kailua, 25-6, 25-22