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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveMarch 25, 2021, 9:33pm
Thu, Mar 25, 2021 @ Maryknoll [ 5:00 pm ]
MAKIKI — After his team was swept in its season opener last Saturday, Maryknoll boys volleyball coach Andrew Ah Yee knew there was much to build upon.
Thursday gave Ah Yee and the Spartans another building block. And a win in the process.
Isaiah Kalima-Izumi put down a team-high nine kills to help Maryknoll rally past visiting Iolani in three sets in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I match at Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium. The set scores were 16-25, 25-21 and 25-23.
"This builds confidence now for the boys, so they're happy and excited and I'm happy for them," said Ah Yee, whose was coming off of a sweep at Kamehameha Saturday.
The Spartans (1-1) have already matched their win total from each of the last two completed seasons. They were 1-11 in the ILH in both 2018 and 2019 (the 2020 season was canceled due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last March).
"For this program it's been a while since they've had some taste of some wins so they're excited for this win," Ah Yee said. "It's all good; we all happy."
The Raiders (1-1) were coming off of a sweep of Hawaii Baptist Saturday. They reached the D1 state title match in 2019, but just three players who were on that state runner-up team are still on the roster.
One of those players, junior outside hitter Ty Heely, paced Iolani's offensive attack Thursday with a match-high 13 kills, while another, senior setter Kaina Alvarez notched 22 assists. It was not enough, however, to avoid the Raiders' first loss to Maryknoll since March 30, 2017.
The Spartans posted an 8-7 record that season.
Ah Yee noted that his current team is heavily represented by underclassmen.
"We've got a total of three seniors on the team and everybody else is sophomores and juniors, so for these juniors to have stepped up their game and kind of get their game on, I'm happy for them," he said.
But it didn't look good for the Spartans early on. Iolani never trailed in the opening set, which it closed out with a 5-0 run behind the tough serving of Jacob Seto.
Ah Yee said it was a matter of setting into the match for his players.
"I think first set, our boys were still playing with some nerves and we had to really get them settled. It wasn't the outcome we wanted in the first set, but we managed to fix it in the second and third set(s), so it worked out," Ah Yee said.
Things began to swing in favor of the home team in the set two, which saw seven ties and six lead changes.
Fabian Camacho put away an Iolani overpass off of a Kalima-Izumi jump serve to give Maryknoll a 22-18 lead late in the set. The Raiders reeled off three straight points — thanks to a pair of Maryknoll hitting errors sandwiched around a kill by Heely from the left side — to get within 22-21.
However, an Iolani service error was immediately followed by an ace from Maryknoll's Angelito Agsalud to give his team set point and the duo of Alexander Parks and Jaren Kaneshiro teamed up for a double block on the very next play to even the match at one set apiece.
"Our serving came up huge because we had a lot of overpasses that we were able to isolate off of and that gave us at least six, seven points at times, so that was a big help. Our serving came in tough, especially from Isaiah," Ah Yee said.
The tough serving continued in set three, which began with a run of seven straight points for the Spartans with Kanai Napuelua-Ah Yee back there. The first three points of the set came on blocks — Parks, a 6-foot-5 junior middle, was involved in all three of them, including one solo stuff. Zion Bruce, a 6-3 junior middle and opposite, teamed with Parks for the other two blocks in the sequence.
Bruce, as well as Micah Kubo — a 6-foot sophomore middle — were making their season debut for the Spartans Thursday. Both missed Saturday's match against Kamehameha while on trips off-island.
"They're both starters for us so that helped us out in our match tonight," Ah Yee noted.
Maryknoll held a 20-13 lead late in the third set, but inched all the way back to within a point at 24-23. However, a service error into the net — the Raiders' eighth of the night — brought an end to the match.
Ah Yee used both of his timeouts in the third set near end-game.
"The message was, ‘settle down and get this ball into play,' " he disclosed. "At the time our passes were kind of getting bad, so I had to slow the game down and bring these guys back into check. We call timeouts just to slow things down, get the momentum back, get the boys focused and get them back on the tempo that we need to be."
Kaneshiro posted six kills, while Parks had five kills, three solo blocks and four block assists. Napuelua-Ah Yee recorded five kills with eight assists, Micah Nakasato tallied 11 assists and Bruce chipped in with two kills, three block assists and solo block.
Maryknoll had nine total team blocks to three for Iolani.
Alvarez dished out 22 assists with two kills and an ace. He and middle Hunter Schmidt had five block assists apiece in the loss.
Both teams pick up play again on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., as Iolani will host Mid-Pacific, while Maryknoll takes on Punahou at Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium.
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