ILH Girls Volleyball
Bulldogs rebound from back-to-back losses to stop Eagles in 4


Tue, Oct 19, 2021 @ Kamehameha [ 5:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
LJA (9-4) 20 25 25 25 - 3
HBA (6-5) 25 23 21 20 - 1
Kill: R. Diersbock (LJA) 24 kills
Blk: H. Taka (HBA) 4 blk

KAPALAMA HEIGHTS — A motivated Le Jardin team got the bounce-back win it needed Tuesday night. 

Reese Diersbock put down 24 kills and Sydnee Walker had 22 to lead the Bulldogs to a four-set win over Hawaii Baptist in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II girls volleyball match at Kamehameha's Kekuhaupio Gymnasium. 

The set scores were 20-25, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-20.

"Yeah, we can breathe a little now," Le Jardin coach Lee Lamb said. 

After winning their first four matches of the season, the Bulldogs had dropped their last two: a five-set nail-biter at Damien last Tuesday and a sweep at the hands of University Lab Friday night. 

"The Damien match, mentally we just couldn't close on that one and UH Lab, they took it to us, man; they looked really good and we struggled. We were super flat from the get-go — even tonight we were flat," Lamb said. "We've been struggling with trying to get out of the gate, so it was good for us to recover after the first (set)."

The Eagles separated early in the opening set with a pair of 4-0 runs. Le Jardin got to within 22-19 late in the set, but HBA scored three of the next four points to hold on. 

The teams traded runs late in the second set. A Sydnee Walker kill out of the back row capped a 6-2 run for the Bulldogs and gave them a 21-15 lead, but Marisa Nakata put one down from the right side to ignite an 8-2 run for the Eagles, who tied the score at 23-all on a double block by Zoe Lorica and Sydney Hankey. 

But out of a timeout, Le Jardin setter Gennezia Hawkins went to Walker, who put her attack through a pair of blockers and down to set-up set point. HBA overpassed on the ensuing serve-receive and Walker was there to tip it down to finish set 2 and even the best-of-five match. 

Walker said there weren't really a whole lot of adjustments that were made after the opening set. 

"It was just our effort, that was the biggest difference," she said. "We kind of came out a little bit flat and we were just able to pick up our effort and that really was just an energy builder for us and we just built on top of that."

The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead after back-to-back kills by Walker from the left side. They stretched it to an 18-9 lead with a 10-3 run that culminated with Walker's cross-court shot that took advantage of a late-arriving HBA block. 

The Eagles cut it to 23-20, but Diersbock sandwiched a kill from the right side and another from the left around an HBA point to close out game 3. 

A couple of Ryli Kalahiki kills from the right side were part of a 5-0 run for Le Jardin early in game 4. They led 6-3 after a Hailee Naone ace — one of three she had for the match — and stretched it to a 16-8 cushion with an 8-1 run that included three Diersbock kills. 

HBA used a 5-0 run to get to within 23-20, but committed back-to-back errors to end the match. 

"I think at the end of it, we came out and we really just hustled and we picked up our communication and we just didn't freak out and we were able to calm ourselves down and play as a team," Walker said. 

Lamb was pleased to see the balanced production from his two pin hitters in Diersbock and Walker. 

"Both of those guys are workhorses," he said. "We're trying to get Nene (Hawkins) to spread it out a little bit, so we can get a little bit of pressure off those guys — I mean, they're gonna score if they get their swings, so that's a good thing, but it probably could take a little pressure off of them by getting the middles a little more involved and even Ryli on the right side — so we're hoping that Nene will make that connection as we move forward."

Hawkins tallied 49 assists in the win and had one of her team's eight service aces; Diersbock served up a couple of aces, as did Nicole Andersch, who added three kills. Ryli Kalahiki chipped in four kills and an assist. 

Walker, Diersbock and Hawkins are all juniors. 

"It's pretty fun. Me and Reese are best friends off the court and we just love hyping each other out and Nene's also in our grade and we just love hyping each other up and we have a great relationship," Walker said. 

The Bulldogs were without middle blocker Elisabeth Pichler for a second straight match. The exchange student returned to her native Austria the day before the UH Lab match to be with her family after the passing of her grandfather. 

"She has a great nose for the ball, so we've just been trying to work the lineup a little bit and we have Sydni Garner, a freshman, so her head is spinning a little bit, but I mean, she's stepped up and she's done a good job, so we're just trying to make the pieces work without (Pichler)," Lamb said. 

Nakata led the way for the Eagles with 11 kills, four aces and a block assist. Kylie-Shyne Rivera-Kaahanui had nine kills and two block assists and Hayley Taka and Lorica added eight kills and four block assists apiece; Taka also tallied one ace and an assist. Johanna Teixeira contributed five kills and an assist and Leina Chu posted 30 assists in the loss. 

The teams entered Tuesday's match tied for third place in the ILH D2 standings, but are now separated by one game. Le Jardin (5-2) is in third place, while HBA (4-3) sits in fourth. 

Both teams conclude the eight-game ILH D2 first round Friday night. Le Jardin will host Maryknoll (6-1), which is tied with Damien for first place, while HBA will visit Sacred Hearts (2-4). 

The ILH second round (double-elimination tournament) is slated to start on Nov. 2.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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