HHSAA Girls Volleyball
Warriors handle Na Menehune in semifinal sweep


Fri, Oct 25, 2019 @ Moanalua [ 5:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
MOA (16-2) 22 19 18 - - 0
KSK (15-2) 25 25 25 - - 3

SALT LAKE — Devin Kahahawai had 13 kills and Keonilei Akana added 12 to lead No. 1 Kamehameha to a sweep of fifth-ranked Moanalua in the semifinals of the New City Nissan Division I Girls Volleyball State Championships Friday night.

The set scores were 25-22, 25-19 and 25-18.

The win was the sixth in a row for the top-seeded Warriors (14-2), who advanced to their 18th consecutive state final. They will take on No. 2 Punahou at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena in a rematch of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship.

Na Menehune (15-2), who were making their first semifinals appearance since 2015, saw their state title hopes dashed by the Warriors for a second straight year; they were also swept by them in the quarterfinal round last year.

While the sweep was Kamehameha's second in as many days, it did not come easy. Moanalua kept pace for much of the first two sets Friday.

The Warriors trailed 8-4 early in the opening set, but went on an 8-1 run to pull ahead, 12-9. Later in the set, they committed attack errors on three consecutive plays to tie it at 21 and force a timeout by coach Chris Blake.

"He just told us that if, ‘we want it, we have to push through it and it starts right here, right now,' " Kahahawai said.

Out of the timeout, Akana's attack from the right side went off the block and out to reclaim the lead for Kamehameha. Moanalua then committed a hitting error to give the Warriors a two-point lead. After a Na Menehune block to make it 23-22, Noelle Sua-Godinet tipped down an overpass to set-up game point and a Moanalua attack that landed out ended the set.

Blake said the timeout — the only one he used throughout the match — was to settle down his team.

"I think we were kind of quick. We wanted to slow things down a little bit and then again to continue with our process, a lot of our process is going to be trusting each other, everybody doing their jobs and making sure they don't have to do too much; we don't have to do anything special," Blake said.

There were nine ties and seven lead changes in game 2. Kamehameha took the lead for good on a Kahahawai kill from the left side to make it 11-10. Later in the set, Moanalua got back-to-back kills from Amariis Garcia and Alexis DeBina-Bautista to cut the Kamehameha lead to 19-18. However, the Warriors closed out the set with a 6-1 run that was fueled by some stellar back row defense.

After a Maui Robins kill from the right side off a Bryanne Soares backset to make it 20-18, defensive specialist Mia Goulart ran down an errant pass to keep a play alive that led to an Akana kill from the left side.

Following a Moanalua timeout, Goulart and libero Tara De Sa each made sprawling digs on a rally and Akana parlayed that into her fifth kill of the set to stretch it to a 22-18 advantage for Kamehameha. On the very next play, Goulart covered an attack that was sent back by a Na Menehune block and once again, the Warriors were able to cash in with a Robins' kill out of the back row.

"We had a lot of great sprawling defense," Blake said. "Mia came in, did an excellent job on a few plays and that's got to be frustrating (for Moanalua)."

Kahahawai agreed.

"As a hitter, if you keep seeing your balls get digged it makes you more and more frustrated, which throws them off," the 6-foot-1 sophomore said. "Mia did great; she was huge."

Kamehameha went up 24-18 after a Moanalua attack went wide. A Na Menehune serve into the net two points later ended the set.

Kahahawai said the Warriors drew upon the hours of practice spent on "end game" paid off for them Friday.

"It really helped us in the final stretch because we said all end game, ‘we have to start strong and finish stronger,' " Kahahawai said.

Game 3 saw Kamehameha go on a 5-1 run that included back-to-back Kahahawai kills to take a 19-13 lead. Several points later she teamed with Kayla Faulker on a double-block to give her team a 24-18 lead. Faulkner closed out the sweep with a kill out of the middle.

"We always talk about the strength of our team being the team, but definitely Devin played well and although our middles may not have gotten a lot of sets, they helped us to run our balance," Blake said. "I think Tara did a great job back there anchoring our defense and then Bry (Soares) did an exceptional job of distribution today, so we were happy to come out with a win."

The Warriors hit .151 for the match, while Na Menehune hit .095.

Goulart posted 10 digs and De Sa notched 14 digs and four assists. Robins tallied a match-high 16 digs and seven kills and Akana added 14 digs and an ace.

"Moanalua is a very well-coached team and they're another battle-tested team. They have a lot of great players over there and we knew we were going to get a match, but our girls did a lot of great adjusting and execution of our game plan over the course of the match and I think it really showed in end game we were able to make a few adjustments, make a couple of great runs and be able to take games one and two and it led into some momentum that we had with game three, but I'm very proud of us coming out on top today," Blake said.

DeBina-Bautista had 10 kills and nine digs, Tayli Ikenaga added nine kills and 13 digs and Allexis Iramina had 13 assists and 12 kills for Moanalua. Sonny Rodrigues chipped in with 11 digs and Aaliyah Allagonez contributed nine assists and eight digs in the loss.

Na Menehune will play No. 4 Mililani in a rematch of the Oahu Interscholastic Association final for third place at 2 p.m. Saturday at Blaisdell Arena.

The championship match will serve as the fourth meeting between Kamehameha and Punahou this season. The Warriors have won the last two times, including their most recent clash: a sweep of the Buffanblu in the ILH final at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on Oct. 11.

Kamehameha is seeking its 22nd state crown and first since 2017. Punahou will try for its 10th championship and first since 2014, when it beat the Warriors in four sets in the title match.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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