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Prep Football Preview Special
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveNovember 1, 2021, 11:08pm
Mon, Nov 1, 2021 @ Mililani [ 7:00 pm ]
MILILANI — Statement made.
Maya Saole-Sue put down a match-high 10 kills and Toodie Sopi had 10 kills and nine digs to lead No. 7 Kapolei to a road sweep of eighth-ranked Mililani Monday night. The set scores were 25-19, 25-23 and 25-21.
The meeting of unbeaten teams atop the Western Division of the Oahu Interscholastic Association proved to be a one-sided affair as the Hurricanes (5-0) handed the host Trojans (4-1) their first loss before a crowd of about 300 spectators.
"It feels really good," said Saole-Sue, a 6-foot senior middle blocker. "We just wanted to come in and play our game. We know Mililani's tough and they really were and it was a really good game."
The Hurricanes were coming off of a bye Wednesday and had not played a match since last Monday's win over Waipahu. They spent much of that time working on taking their intensity to the next level — and it showed Monday night.
"It was honestly the biggest factor," said Saole-Sue. "Every time our energy went down, we put our heads down and we didn't play the game we were supposed to play."
But each time their intensity level dropped off, they were able to recoup and finish each set. Kapolei coach Naidah Gamurot was especially pleased by that.
"That was really big for us because it's not always something that we've been able to do, but that's the next step for us and now we just have to take it incrementally from there, so it was a good start on the intensity part," Gamurot said. "Hopefully we can work a little bit more of that."
Kapolei never trailed in the opening set. It capped a 10-4 run with back-to-back kills by Sopi to take a 16-8 lead. Later in the set, it reeled off five straight points, including an ace by Azariah Nunuha — one of her team's two in the set and six for the match — to stretch it to a 22-12 lead.
The Trojans went on a 7-1 run that included a pair of Aria Miller kills from the left side to force a timeout by Gamurot at 23-19. However, the ‘Canes got a kill by Saole-Sue in the middle and then a Mililani error closed out game 1.
A couple of aces by Marley Hartley were part of a 6-0 Kapolei run early in game 2. Mililani turned a 14-12 deficit into a 17-14 lead with a 5-0 run later in the set, but the visitors' block came up big in end game. Middle blocker Kailana Andrade teamed with her sister, Kilinahe, for one block, then assisted Hartley with another block that was sandwiched around another Nunuha ace and followed by an attack error by the Trojans to give Kapolei a 22-21 lead.
A few points later, Saole-Sue and Kilinahe Andrade turned back another Mililani attack with their double block and Saole-Sue found the floor with her tip on set point, her fourth kill in the stanza.
"We really wanted to establish the middles early in the game, just to get the high intensity," Saole-Sue said.
Gamurot has seen glimpses of brilliance from her middles — both Saole-Sue and Kailana Andrade — but would like to see more consistency from the pair.
"They were great, (but) we still have to work on," she cautioned. "We still need to work on our connection, that's one of the physical things we still to work on; when it's clicking, it's actually awesome and then when it's not, it's not."
Game 3 saw seven ties, but no lead changes as the ‘Canes never trailed. The last tie came at 19, after a Kapolei hitting error into the net. However, it responded by scoring the net three points to force a timeout by the Trojans. Mililani pulled to within 24-22 down the stretch, but Sopi finished things off with her attack that just landed in off an assist from Kilinahe Andrade.
Sopi scored her team's final four points of the match.; She recorded five of her nine kills in set 3.
Kapolei hit .271 (38 kills, 15 errors, 85 total attempts) for the match and recorded 42 digs. Libero Myah Feliciano finished with a match-high 11 digs. Kilinahe Andrade had 32 assists with six digs, Kailana Andrade posted seven kills and an ace, Hartley added six kills, five digs and two aces and Nunuha chipped in with four kills, six digs and three aces.
Gamurot was satisfied with the offensive balance her team displayed Monday night.
"Yeah, they're pretty good and we try to balance it to a point and then, well, we have other things that go on, but everybody needs to have gametime and they did and we needed to have a team like Mililani to play with to really force us — and they did, they put us in a corner, they backed us into a corner a couple of times — and we needed that," she said.
Mililani hit .119 (27 kills, 17 errors, 84 total attempts) and had 21 digs. Jaelyn Tang led the way with nine kills and 10 digs. Aria Miller had six kills and four digs, Alexis Rodrigues chipped in with five kills and Anae Asuncion notched 23 assists and both of her team's aces in the loss.
The Hurricanes finished with six aces to the Trojans' 3 and had six total team blocks to two for the hosts.
Kapolei, which has lost just one set all season, has now swept its last three opponents. Midway through the 10-game regular season, Gamurot is happy with the progression her team has shown.
"This feels really good because we've gotten to the point where we're feeling comfortable with our physical game, but we needed intensity — we didn't have that — so that's what we were working on, trying to get the intensity up, so this is great because Mililani gave us lots of intensity," Gamurot said.
She added, "I thought we did well. We're climbing up the ladder like we should be doing, so that looks good."
The ‘Canes next play Pearl City (2-3) Wednesday, their third consecutive match on the road, while the Trojans visit Campbell 2-3) that same evening.
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