Girls Volleyball
Iolani upends top-seeded Kahuku to reach D1 final


 

Peter Caldwell | SL

Iolani will get its shot at redemption.

Saige Kaahaaina-Torres and Elena Oglivie had 25 kills apiece to help Iolani deny top-seeded Kahuku Friday night and return to the title match of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I Girls Volleyball State Championships.

The scores of the semifinal match were 25-23, 25-19, 17-25 and 25-18.

The unseeded Raiders won their fourth consecutive match and third of the tournament to improve to 15-4 before a crowd of about 500 at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium.

Iolani will play defending champion Kamehameha in a rematch of last year's state final, 7 p.m. Saturday at Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena.

Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Kahuku, the overall top seed in the tournament, suffered its first loss of the season to fall to 15-1 and will play King Kekaulike in the 3:30 p.m. third-place match.

Raiders coach Kainoa Obrey said his players embraced the role of underdog against the Red Raiders.

"Absolutely. I think Kahuku has been good all year. We played them a little bit in the preseason, they beat us then (but) I think our league kind of prepared us to play this team," Obrey said. "Kahuku is tough, they're well-coached, they have a good system, they know what they're doing and they're going to keep battling. I'm proud of our kids for standing up strong and kind of just playing. We got a lot of youthfulness and inexperience in these moments, but maybe that helps (because) they just kind of play and don't feel anything else."

A big part of that youth is Oglivie, a freshman outside hitter. She hit .352 for the match and also notched a team-high 17 digs. Nine of Oglivie's 25 kills came in the fourth set.

"She is something special, for sure, and we're glad we have her," Obrey said of Oglivie.

Kaahaaina-Torres, a junior outside hitter, took a match-high 73 swings and committed just six hitting errors. She also contributed 11 digs.

Obrey used a timeout after a 4-0 runs by the Red Raiders that gave them a 23-22 lead late in game 1.

"He said to focus on the little things and make sure that we execute on everything one play at a time, so I think playing one point at a time really helped us tonight and that's where our success came," Kaahaaina-Torres said.

She took the message to heart and responded with three consecutive kills to help the Raiders steal the set, 25-22.

Iolani separated midway game 2 with a 6-1 run that was capped by a Kaahaaina-Torres kill off the block and out that made it 19-13. Kahuku never scored more than two consecutive points in the set.

However, the Red Raiders retaliated by hitting .375 in game 3, in which they build an early 7-1 lead and never looked back.

Conversely, Iolani hit just .139 in the third set.

"After that third set we knew that we kind of went away from our game plan," said Kaahaaina-Torres. "We weren't focusing on the little things that we had set out to do, so I think coming back to that is what helped us be successful."

The Raiders used mini-runs of 3-0 and 4-0 to jump out to a 12-7 lead in game 4. They closed out the set — and the match — with a 8-3 run.

The difference was defense, Obrey said.

"We touched balls well at the net, got some good blocks here and there, we made some good plays digging — front row and back row — and the best thing about it is we were able to transition to points," he said.

Libero Sammie Worley had 16 digs and Kacie Miyama, Elena Oglivie and Ana Oglivie each added 11 digs. Ana Oglivie, a senior setter, had 51 assists.

"I thought we did a pretty good job on defense," Elena Oglivie said. "I thought we were reading good and we understood where they were hitting and we moved there to make the play."

Iolani hit .268 for the match to .277 for Kahuku, which had not dropped a set all season.

Middle hitter Phoebe Grace put down 19 kills and was in on six blocks for the Red Raiders.

ShaLi Niu had 12 kills, six digs and three blocks, Cheyenne Teo contributed 11 kills, 18 digs and an ace and Carey Williams added nine kills and 17 digs. Libero Puao Sao dug a match-high 22 balls and setter ShaRae Niu had 47 assists and 10 digs.

Iolani reached the state final last year, but lost to Kamehameha in a five-set thriller.

"I know I'm really fired up and the girls are really fired up from last year," Kaahaaina-Torres said. "We just want to go out there (Saturday) night and leave everything on the court."

The match between the Raiders and Warriors will follow the D2 final between Le Jardin and Hawaii Baptist at 5 p.m.



Reach Kalani Takase at kalani@scoringlive.com.


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