OIA Boys Volleyball
Trojans outlast Waipahu to take OIA West lead


Thu, Mar 21, 2019 @ Mililani [ 7:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
WAIP (7-4) 21 26 11 - - 1
MIL (15-2) 25 24 15 - - 2
Kill: C. Guillermo (MIL) 12 kills  Blk: O. Foe (WAIP) 5 blk  Ast: T. Kato (MIL) 25 ast

MILILANI — The spring break showdown between two OIA West boys volleyball powers did not disappoint.

No. 5 Mililani pulled away from No. 8 Waipahu in a three-set classic, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11, Thursday night to pull into first place in the league standings.

Chance Guillermo banged out 12 kills with nine digs and Alrick Boncato had a solid all-around performance with seven kills, six digs, two aces and two blocks to help the Trojans (5-0) hand the Marauders (4-1) their first loss of the regular season.

It was a redeeming win for Mililani, as Waipahu earned its first victory since 2013 over the Trojans last year on its home floor in another three-set battle.

Guillermo, a 6-foot senior, noted that the Trojans did their homework before their match against the Marauders and strategized how to counter Waipahu's Bradley Tacata (12 kills) and Ken Boctot (eight kills).

"We prepared because last year we lost in their regular season game and we really wanted to get this win, especially in our home gym too," he said. "What we did to prepare is we definitely practiced different simulations of hitters with Bradley and Ken on the outsides, and we practiced a lot of defense especially against their good hitting."

Mililani sophomore libero Cole Custodio digs up a ball in the first set. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

The home fans also came prepared as third-year Mililani coach Trent Niino praised their support at the end of the night.

"We had one of the biggest crowds I've seen at Mililani and it was an amazing feeling to have everyone there supporting us," said Niino. "I'm so grateful for the support our program has been getting this season. We have an amazing group of kids, from the JV to the varsity, and with them came a great group of parents."

Both teams battled hard in a match that had 21 ties, but the biggest deciding factor was in unforced mistakes. The Marauders committed 11 service errors — seven in the opening frame — and gave up match point on a serve that sailed wide.

"We had a lot of bad serving in the beginning, that kind of took us off," said Waipahu coach Julna Pasicaran.

But the Marauders found ways to make up for their mistakes in the match, especially in the second set when they held six-point leads nine times.

"Hats off to Waipahu, their two outside hitters were fire," said Niino. "I'm a huge fan of coach Julna, and every year she gets her team firing on all cylinders when they play us. She's definitely one of the greats."

With Tacata and Boctot operating near the pins in the Marauders' 6-2 offense and the Waipahu blockers getting nine total blocks (four solo), Pasicaran noted that it was her team's best outing of the season — but added that there still is work to be done.

Along with their service errors, the Marauders allowed a 7-1 Mililani run late in the second set that gave the Trojans to take a 24-23 lead. Waipahu got the next three points, but momentum started to favor Mililani heading into the third set.

"Sometimes they forget that they still have to play the game and let the game finish itself and get the points," said Pasicaran.

Waipahu scored the first two points of the third set on blocks to take a 2-0 lead, but Mililani came back to tie it at two before both teams traded points until it was 9-9.

The Trojans then started to gain separation, 11-9, after a Caleb Pascual kill from the right side and a floating kill by Boncato that was set up by Tory Kato (25 assists), which forced a Waipahu timeout.

The Marauders regained the serve after the timeout, but couldn't execute their offense after the next point as Mililani went on to win the match.

"What I told the boys after the game was I'm proud of them for their fight," said Niino. "The second set, it was a little bit rough, but that comeback was epic. Unfortunately Waipahu got those two points that they needed, but I told them at the end of the match, I'm so proud of them for their fight. That to me is what being a Trojan is all about."

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].




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