HHSAA Boys Volleyball
Saints repeat as state champs in final season


Sat, May 4, 2019 @ Blaisdell [ 5:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
KAPA (15-1) 23 25 23 12 - 1
SFS (17-3) 25 21 25 25 - 3
Kill: L. Biondi (SFS) 19 kills
Ast: J. Garcia (SFS) 38 ast

KAKAAKO — In its final game in program history, Saint Francis ended it on a high note.

The Saints repeated as New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II Boys Volleyball State Champions with a 25-23, 21-25, 25-23, 25-12 win over Kapaa at the Neal Blaisdell Center Saturday.

The volleyball team gave its fans, community, and student body something to cheer for after the school will be shutting its doors in a couple weeks.

"I am so elated and I am so happy I can give my school one more championship. This one means so much to us obviously. To be part of this team was amazing," Makua Marumoto said.

Lucas Biondi led the way with a game-high 19 kills and 14 digs, Marumoto added 16 kills and block and senior setter Jesus Garcia dished out 38 assists.

Garcia, one of three seniors on the team, provided steady leadership throughout the season.

"Guys look at Jesus as a leader and want him to guide them. Jesus did a great job and move it inside and outside and move the ball around that we we had a lot of one on one blocks. Our middles did a great job to make sure the outside was freed up," Saint Francis coach Dandi Holder said.

Saint Francis has 10 underclassmen on the roster and they will have to find new teams to play for.

Marumoto and Biondi were undecided on where they were going to go to finish up their schooling.

The first set was tightly contested as the Saints won by a slim margin, 25-23.

Kapaa came back and built a five-point lead in the second set then pushed it to seven before Saint Francis came roaring back to get within two off of Marumoto's kill. The Warriors tied it up at one set apiece after a kill by Kiran Costa and Marumoto's hitting error.

"It was like that the entire way," Kapaa coach Kapule Kaona said of the close sets. "We were trying to get point runs and separate ourselves. We stayed close point by point."

"I told the boys, we have to prepare. Kapaa is a strong team and they will not give it to us. If you want it, you need to take it," Holder said.

Saint Francis took a six point lead in the third set, but Kapaa rallied and brought the set within one four times before tying it at 20. The Saints took control with a 4-1 run before finishing the set with a kill from 6-foot-7 Faaope Laloulu.

"We focused on being consistent and communication. Our blockers getting up there and getting balls. We had to calm ourselves down to win point by point," Holder said.

Things started to unravel for the Warriors in the fourth set as the team committed 10 attack errors during a 12-3 Saint Francis run. Sensing the momentum, the Saints capitalized going up by eight and then eventually by double digits to shut the door on the Warriors.

New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II Boys Volleyball All-Tournament Team
As selected by the media and the HHSAA

Makua Marumoto, Saint Francis
Kiran Costa, Kapaa
Faaope Laloulu, Saint Francis
Justin Faidley, Kapaa
Jesus Garcia, Saint Francis
Walter Berthold, Saint Francis
Most Outstanding Player: Lucas Biondi, Saint Francis

"That fourth set we had self-inflicted wounds. We made too many errors on our side and couldn't take care of the ball. Our serve receive made hitting errors. Things started to snow ball," Kaona said.

"Kapaa is a great team and it was great battle. That fourth set, everything just clicked and we played well in that last set," Biondi said.

As the momentum shifted, it dawned on several players that this was it.

"I think Lucas said something in the huddle that resonated with us and we were all thinking it. He said , 'If we win this set, it is the last set of volleyball you will ever play for Saint Francis.' I think that it helped us get over the hump," Marumoto said.

"It's been amazing. We were using it a huge motivator for us. To come out here to play as well as we did. We're feeling really happy at the moment," Biondi said.

Costa led the Warriors with 17 kills and four solo blocks. Justin Faidley added seven kills and Alakai Gonsalves with six.

After coming up short the past two title games, the Warriors were seeking their first title since 2005. Kapaa saw its 15-game winning streak snapped.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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