ILH Boys Volleyball
Iolani sweeps Mid-Pacific to open ILH play


Tue, Mar 3, 2020 @ Iolani [ 6:15 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
MPI (0-4) 23 16 0 - - 0
IOL (3-1) 25 25 0 - - 2
Kill: L. Biondi (IOL) 7 kills

KAPIOLANI — Iolani swept Mid-Pacific 25-23, 25-16, in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I opener for both teams at the Lower Gym in the Father Bray Athletic Center Tuesday.

Lucas Biondi led the team with seven kills and two aces. Carter Kamana added five kills, Kupono Browne with four, and Kaina Alvarez had 15 assists for the defending ILH champions.

"It was a great collective effort from the team. It was exciting for us to get out here for our opening match and see what we can do. We've been putting a lot of work in the gym and in practice and it's been awesome to see how it translated to our matches," Biondi said.

Biondi, a transfer from Saint Francis and the Division II Most Outstanding Player in the state tournament the previous season, was welcomed with open arms.

"I'm ecstatic to be here. This is the best thing to happen to me with the opportunity here with Iolani and a lot of support from the program. There isn't a better place here to be your best person and player and I couldn't be happier," Biondi said.

"I'm proud of how our seniors have shown him what our program is about. I've been proud of Lucas for being receptive to that and making a seamless transition. I think our seniors have developed a strong program and the way they want their program to be and the way they want the people to act. The strength of their leadership made it easier for Lucas to come in and it's been a good transition so far," Iolani coach Jordan Inafuku said.

There were six lead changes in the first set and the largest lead for either team was three until the Owls took a 18-15 lead on Caleb Law's kill to force a timeout. The Raiders tied it up at 18 after Mid-Pacific miscues then led, 20-18 on Ryan Sunada's service ace.

"We faced a lot of adversity in the first set. Mid-Pacific came out really strong and they had a great push and a lot of effort. We struggled for sure with their attacking but we came out of it. We went back to basics and got a nice break from coach and we really pulled together in that one," Biondi said.

"I think it was more excitement, they get to play in front of their friends. Mid-Pacific played very well. We played them a couple days ago and they're much better tonight than they were a couple days ago so their coaching staff did a good job," Inafuku said.

Iolani increased their lead to four after Browne placed a kill from Alvarez to make it, 23-19. The Owls crept closer on consecutive net violations then would get within one, 23-22, after Elijah Kahue-Parker's kill to make things interesting until Browne ended the set with a kill.

"We've been coming out with a reset mindset. We go through different steps and we tell ourselves what to do and when we feel like we're breaking down. We really pulled it together. It's always tough to find yourself in that situation but it was good for us to pull out of it," Biondi said.

"They (Mid-Pacific) were scrappy on defense and they make us play an extra ball. They were aggressive at our block and we weren't executing on defense very well," Inafuku said.

Each team traded service and attack errors to open up the second set, but Iolani held on to a four point lead. Samuel Faumuina and Kilo Scanlan combined for blocks twice to force a timeout from Mid-Pacific as the Owls trailed by five, 13-8.

"They're trying to manage their emotions and figure out what their routines are going to be, when they're nervous or feeling pressure. I think they did a good job of that throughout the match. We have to do it a little faster," Inafuku said as his team settled down in the second set.

Biondi and Kamana took turns pounding kills as the Raiders pulled away went up by eight. Elijah Muraoka placed a kill and gave Iolani the sweep with an ace.

Griffin Anderson led the Owls with six kills, Reyn Miyazawa and Caleb Law each had four kills and Leion Van Osdol dished out 14 assists in the loss.

Mid-Pacific hosts defending state champion Punahou on Thursday, Mar. 5.

Iolani along with Moanalua will take their talents to San Diego, California to participate in the Best of the West Boys Volleyball Invitational on Mar. 6 and 7. The Raiders are in Pool 4 while Na Menehune are in Pool 6. Iolani departs on Wednesday and returns Sunday in time resume ILH play to face Hawaii Baptist Academy on Tuesday, Mar. 10.

"We're looking forward to it. We're taking this trip to bond as a team and learn who we are as players and people. Hopefully we can strengthen our bond as players and teammates," Biondi said.

"They (Mid-Pacific) showed us a lot tonight that we have to work on. It was a good job by my team to focus on this match and not get ahead of themselves. They're really excited to go on the trip. We're better prepared after today," Inafuku said.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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