Mililani outlasts Moanalua in 5 sets to win OIA Division I volleyball championship
Sinus infection. Asthma. Nothing could stop Falanika Danielson, Aysia Miller and the Lady Trojans of Mililani.
Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser!
You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription.
Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story.
Nothing could stop Falanika Danielson, Aysia Miller and the Lady Trojans of Mililani. Danielson overcame health issues and crushed 24 kills as No. 4 Mililani edged No. 5 Moanalua 15-25, 28-26, 25-14, 21-25, 15-10 on Wednesday night to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I girls volleyball championship.
A raucous full house at Moanalua’s gym saw two teams that are practically mirror images. One of the difference makers was Miller, a senior setter/opposite who finished with 33 assists and 11 kills as Mililani (13-0) repeated as OIA champion. Coach Val Crabbe joked about a slow start.
“I was checking my blood pressure. I told them that we have to believe and it’s going to be a battle. We’ve got to believe, that’s the main thing,” Crabbe said. “Amazing. These young ladies are amazing.”
Aria Miller, Aysia’s sister, added nine kills and three aces. That included four huge kills in the final set. Middle Emma Berry added eight kills and Nicole Kimura finished with 16 assists. Mariah Fukumoto led a superb back-row defense.
Tradie DeBina-Bautista led Moanalua (12-1) with 27 kills and two aces. Tayli Ikenaga tallied 14 kills and middle Amariis Garcia aded 13 kills and five blocks.
Danielson, though, brought the boom despite being sick for two weeks.
“My goal is just to push through. My main focus is to forget about my sickness and just focus on the next point,” she said. “I really couldn’t breathe. I’m not going to school tomorrow. Moanalua’s just like us, very scrappy. Great energy especially from our supporters.”
The audience, with plenty of football players from both sides sometimes leading the cheers, was the loudest from start to finish for any OIA volleyball final in recent memory.
Moanalua rode its homecourt advantage to a 15-9 lead after a roof by Amerika Jones. Buoyed by five blocks, Na Menehune maintained that lead and extended it to 10 points en route to an easy win in Set 1.
The second set was a see-saw battle with three quick lead changes before the visiting Trojans went on an 11-5 run for a 15-10 lead. Danielson began to catch fire, and Nicole Kimura’s entrance at setter allowed Aysia Miller to slide to the right side.
Moanalua rallied and took a 26-25 lead on an ace by DeBina-Bautista, but a service error and a hitting error gave Mililani the edge, and Danielson’s kill evened the match.
The Lady Trojans dominated Set 3, continuing to cash in on the Kimura-Miller connection. Aysia Miller had five kills, all from the right side, and Danielson added five more kills as the Trojans opened a 23-8 lead and coasted.
Moanalua rallied to win Set 4, relying heavily on the contributions of Garcia, who had four kills and three key blocks. In Set 5, the Lady Trojans marched to a 5-0 lead and opened it to 11-4 after a back-row kill by Danielson. She scored four of her team’s final six points to stymie the home team.
Moanalua will begin state-tourney play on Monday hosting Waianae. Mililani will have a bye until the quarterfinals next Thursday.