Top Performers
Olie, Ah Yat powered Aiea football, University Lab girls volleyball to big wins




Ezekiel Olie

Aiea football  •   #11    

Ezekiel Olie stuffed the stat sheet over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The sophomore quarterback turned in his best performance of the season with five passing touchdowns in a 38-7 win over Waipahu last Saturday at Radford's John E. Velasco Stadium.

Olie also completed 23 of 35 passes for 379 yards in the victory to help Na Alii (3-1) secure a spot in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I championship game next week.

"He's a great kid and he's getting better every week," Aiea coach Wendell Say said of Olie.

The number of TDs and passing yards were season-highs, but it is equally important to point out that Olie did it without turning the ball over for the first time of the year. The sophomore QB had thrown 10 interceptions in three games prior to Aiea's win over the Marauders.

"He's making better choices and not forcing the ball like earlier in the season," Say said. "That comes with practice and playing time. He protected the ball well and looked for the open receivers and had success."

Say added that the bye week after Na Alii's win over Castle on Nov. 12 helped Olie and the offense get in sync.

"It helped a lot. Because the season started late, we were only in our third game, not even one third through of a normal season. The first bye week we did team bonding, but this last one we did a lot more reps and fine-tuned and got sharper in the thing we do."

Aiea was a little slow out of the gate against Waipahu however.

A fumble on Na Alii's first play of scrimmage led to an early Waipahu score. The Aiea offense also had a few procedural penalties on its next couple of drives.

Part of the slow start can be attributed to a slight tweak by the coaching staff. Instead of calling the plays from the sideline like in the previous games, offensive coordinator Zach Mauga started the game up top in the press box area. Na Alii quickly pulled the plug on the idea after the first quarter.

"In the first quarter we were kinda off," Say said after the game. "They tried to do something different and have the OC call it from up there, but I think he needed to be here (on the sideline) for the boys to visually see him. I think it was a little hard for them in the beginning.

"It was important that we got the kids settled down, and that's when things changed."

Indeed it did.

Na Alii rattled 38 straight unanswered points after the first quarter and never looked back in their first win over the Marauders since 2006.

Olie was at the forefront of Aiea's run. After two straight incomplete to start the game, the sophomore QB completed eight straight passes, including a 7-yard TD pass to slotback Geronimo Ulgaran to start the second quarter.

Much of Olie's success came on his ability to read the coverage before the snap, as well as making quick decisions on which matchup to attack.

On his first TD pass of the game, Olie took advantage of a man-to-man defense and found Ulgaran on a switch route-combo towards the wide side of the field.

When Aiea took the lead on Olie's 30-yard TD pass to Jayden Chanel, Olie saw that one of Waipahu's safeties in a two-high look were out of position and was able to throw a strike down the right sideline to his 6-foot-2 sophomore wideout.

"He's played a lot of 7-on-7 pylon this past year so he's comfortable with knowing the coverage and whether they're playing man or zone," said Say. "The difference is now there's guys rushing the quarterback so you have to read fast and hit the open receiver. He's learning as the weeks go on. He's going to be a great player for us."

Olie's bond with his receivers is also important. Most of the players on the team have played in the Junior Prep Sports league together growing up as well as in various 7-on-7 pylon tournaments.

That chemistry was on display on Olie's 95-yard TD pass to Chanel in the third quarter. Against a single-high safety look, Chanel was lined up as the lone receiver on the wide side of the field. With single coverage on him, Olie launched a pass 35 yards downfield to Chanel, who outleaped a defender and sprinted the remainder of the way for the score.

"Jayden and Ezekiel have a chemistry like no other," Mauga said of the duo.

Chanel had four catches for 158 yards and three scores in the win while Ulgaran finished with 10 receptions for 185 yards and two TDs as the top receiving threats in Aiea's win over Waipahu.

"They've been playing together for a long time, Ezekiel, Jayden and Geronimo," said Say. "They know each other so well and they trust each other."

Say added that Olie is a quiet leader and an ultimate teammate.

"He's always like the first guy in practice and always one of the last to leave. He's constantly with the boys during lunch and recess. They're very focused in helping each other get better."

The Aiea coaching staff don't view Olie's stellar performance against Waipahu as an anomaly and expects it to be the norm moving forward.

"We always knew he's a strong arm kid and that he can move," said Mauga. "We knew all he needed was one game where it can take him over the top and tonight was that game for him.

"The more comfortable he gets, the more better he plays. He's just an amazing kid, in practice and in the classroom. Just good all-around."

"I'm expecting him to play like this all the time now," added Say. "I think he's capable of it. I can see that feels a lot more comfortable."

Olie and Na Alii closes out the regular season this Friday with a road game against Kailua.

With the second place finish in the league standings locked up, Aiea will meet division leader Moanalua in the championship game next weekend where it will try for its first OIA title since 2003.

Na Menehune defeated Aiea in the season-opener by a score of 28-25. It will be Na Alii's first title game appearance since 2009.

-Michael Lasquero




Milan Ah Yat

University Lab volleyball  •   #14    

It's not easy for Brad Miller to quantify Milan Ah Yat's value to his University Lab girls volleyball team. 

But the numbers speak for themselves. 

Ah Yat, a junior outside hitter, recorded a season-high 24 kills and 21 digs last week Monday to help the Jr. ‘Bows edge Le Jardin in five sets (25-20, 27-25, 25-20, 25-21, 15-7) for the program's first league championship since 2010. 

Miller, University Lab's first-year coach, noted that while impressive, the statistics don't tell the whole story when it comes to what Ah Yat means to the group. 

"I think just her passing presence (because) she does take up a good chunk of space," Miller said, alongside of libero Maiah Kalima-Izumi and fellow six-rotation outside hitter Pii Carvalho. 

"They're also pretty strong passers so I'm lucky that I have all three, but Milan in that back row, she brings that stability for us and then defensively she does have a knack for the ball. She's very aggressive and that's nice to have defensively and I would say that she brings a lot of that and that doesn't show up on the stat sheet for a lot of teams," he added. 

Ah Yat, one of four Jr. ‘Bows to finish with at least nine kills, was also a steady force offensively. Miller noted that the match against the Bulldogs was essentially a microcosm of his team's season as a whole. 

"That's pretty much what our season has been: we know what we're gonna get her the ball and she has a double block up every time and just as a volleyball player myself, I know that's always tough, but when we were able to get her the ball she did mix up her shots — she was swinging high hands, she was trying to go a little bit more down the line, a little angle, a little variety — but passing wise, it was just very steady and just as important as her hitting is her passing," Miller said. 

Serve-receive, specifically, was an area of the match that UH Lab particularly excelled in. It registered 16 service aces, while Le Jardin was limited to five aces. 

"You can't do anything without a pass and so for us, Milan is one of our anchors, though with our team we have been able to get a lot of our other offense going and that's what we've been preaching all year, is that we know that we have a couple good outsides, but we need to get our middles and right sides involved and with that pass from our serve-receive, we've been able to do that," Miller explained. 

Kalima-Izumi's 34 digs were a match-high mark, while setter Makena Tong tallied 49 assists, in addition to 15 digs, nine kills and two aces. Carvalho notched a double-double with 14 kills and 17 digs, as well as three aces of her own. 

It's been quite the turnaround for the Jr. ‘Bows, who were swept by Hawaii Baptist and Damien in back-to-back matches to open the ILH season back in late September. 

Miller said that it was after a four-set loss to Maryknoll on Oct. 6 — which put his team's record at 2-3 — that he "tweaked the lineup a little bit."

UH Lab has gone 9-1 since then.

"The kids have responded so well to that," Miller said. "A couple girls are just being way more confident in a different position and that's kind of turned our season around, but the girls are great; they come to practice every day and they work hard."

While it's Miller's first year with the team, he knew all about the potential the Jr. ‘Bows had coming into the much-awaited 2021 season. Miller was previously coach at now-defunct Saint Francis. 

The fall of 2019 — the last fully-completed girls volleyball season — saw UH Lab go 11-4 in the ILH, 14-5 overall and finish third at the D2 state tournament. Ah Yat was selected to the all-tournament team at states as a freshman. While other schools in the league put together "sport experiences" for their student-athletes during the COVID-hampered 2020-'21 school year, the Jr. ‘Bows did not have that luxury. 

"So no practices, nothing like that," said Miller, who was hired in April. "That's why they literally hadn't played in a couple years. For our girls, they've just been so hungry this entire year without having season last year."

Ah Yat herself has been working her way back from a knee injury she sustained during club volleyball season. 

"Once we started toward the end of July and into the first part of September, she really worked on getting that strengthened up a little bit, so her hitting and just technique wise has become around for us as well. Overall, she's very fundamental with her passing and technique and then hitting, she definitely has a strong arm," Miller described of the 5-foot-8 Ah Yat, who also plays softball for the PAC-5 team in the spring time. 

"That's what she's looking to play potentially in college, but she's just an all-around athlete and that's what I always enjoy coaching, players that do multiple sports, so for her, softball is her main focus for her future, but in volleyball her fundamentals are there and, like I mentioned, she brings a lot of stability to our passing rotation; she is a passer for all six rotations, so it's definitely nice to have that in the back row," Miller reiterated. 

As Miller described, UH Lab is "one of the shortest teams when you look around the league," but what his squad lacks in height, it makes up for with scrappiness and defense. 

"That's one of the things we like to hang out hat on is our defense. We typically are pretty out-matched size-wise — I think we were outblocked, seventeen-to-three (by Le Jardin) on Monday — but we get touches on a lot of balls and our block slows it down enough," Miller said. 

He said that while blocking gets emphasized often in practice, its not always about "stuff blocks," as he described. 

"It's one of the things we know we have to do well — because we're not going to get a ton of stuff blocks — but just staying disciplined, staying in our spots, making sure our discipline is there because we have to try and out-discipline teams defensively and I think with the girls that we have, they've really bought into that. We work on that every day in practice, so they really don't have a choice," Miller laughed, ‘but it has been a strength of ours, is they're go-getters in the back row and up at the net, we're working on a ton of blocking — not stuff blocking — but reading hitters, getting touches where we can and then transitioning to our offense."

After it took the opening set against Le Jardin Monday, 25-20, UH Lab fell behind after it dropped sets 2 and 3 by scores of 27-25 and 25-20. 

"When we met with the girls between sets — especially before the fourth set, being down two-one — it was talking about that discipline that we kind of lost in those second and third sets a little bit," Miller said. 

Ultimately, it with the pass that the Jr. ‘Bows regained their usual form and took set 4, 25-21, to force a deciding fifth set. They ultimately completed the comeback with a 15-7 win in set 5 before a spirited crowd of mostly students from both schools at Le Jardin's Charles B. Wang Gymnasium. 

"We knew that we needed to pass well to get our middles involved and we knew that at the end of the day Milan and Pii are two of our hitters we look to lead us and both of them really turned it on in the fourth set. Looking back on it, (Ah Yat) was a big part of that come back and our team in general just battled and that's what I can remember from that night," said Miller, who was appreciative of the atmosphere that the crowd helped to create for the fourth match between the Jr. ‘Bows and Bulldogs this fall and the second in a span of three days. 

"It was an experience. Just the environment, everything, it was just a really fun thing to be a part of, win or lose, to be honest with you," Miller described. "Just the kids battling back and forth, that was definitely a game to remember and for all these kids, having that at least some type of normalcy that we haven't had the past two years, that really felt like we were getting back to normal on that Monday night."

Ah Yat and the Jr. ‘Bows (10-4) held firm at No. 7 in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Power Rankings for a second straight week. They will have first-round bye when the 12-team New City Nissan/HHSAA D2 State Championships gets underway on Dec. 8. 

-Kalani Takase

FOOTBALL

Koa Akui, Hilo — Caught three passes for 78 yards with a touchdown and also scored on a 41-yard interception return for touchdown in a win over Kealakehe

Windsor Asing, Aiea — Recorded two pass break-ups, forced a fumble and scored on a 9-yard fumble return for touchdown in a win over Waipahu

Tumama Auvaa, Aiea — Had one sack and recovered a fumble in a win over Waipahu

Jayce Bareng, Moanalua — Caught nine passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Roosevelt

Armenio Blanco, Konawaena — Recovered two fumbles in a win over Keaau 

Jack Carlson, Radford — Caught five passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kalaheo 

Kainoa Carvalho, Kahuku — Caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 40-yard punt return in a win over Campbell

Jayden Chanel, Aiea — Caught four passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Waipahu

Dustin Chow, McKinley — Threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns on 18-of-33 passing without an interception in a loss to Kaimuki

Waika Crawford, Kahuku — Threw for 260 yards and four touchdowns on 15-of-27 passing with one interception in a win over Campbell

Syncere Dillard, Radford — Made four tackles, including two sacks in a win over Kalaheo

Elijah Dominici, Castle — Had 4 1/2 tackles, including 1 1/2 for losses and recovered a fumble in a loss to Kailua

Elijah Falaniko, Radford — Had two sacks in a win over Kalaheo

Sefo Feesago, Pearl City — Threw for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-26 passing without an interception in a win over Waialua

Mitai Fuauli, Campbell — Had two tackles, including one sack, and forced a fumble in a loss to Kahuku

Jayden Gaopoa-Montgomery, Roosevelt — Scored on a 4-yard blocked punt return for touchdown in a loss to Moanalua

Joshua Gleason, Pearl City — Caught eight passes for 129 yards and a touchdown in a win over Waialua

Michael Hayslett, Radford — Ran for 135 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in a win over Kalaheo

Kimo Ibanez Jr., Hilo — Threw for 251 yards and four touchdowns on 14-of-24 passing with one interception in a win over Kealakehe

Kawelu Kaiawe, Konawaena — Ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries in a win over Keaau 

Kealoha Kaio, Kahuku — Caught five passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Campbell

Pomaikai Konohia, Kailua — Made six solo tackles, including two sacks in a win over Castle

Kainalu Lewis, Nanakuli — Made three tackles for losses, including two sacks in a loss to Kalani

Japheth Lilo, Kailua — Made 3 1/2 tackles, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and broke-up a pass in a win over Castle

Blazen Lono-Wong, Kailua — Made 5 1/2 tackles, including three sacks, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass in a win over Castle

Taylor Malloe, Moanalua — Threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns on 22-of-44 passing with one interception in a win over Roosevelt

Joshua Manu, Waipahu — Threw for 202 yards and a touchdown on 23-of-45 passing without an interception in a loss to Aiea 

Keawe Navas Loa, Konawaena — Had three tackles, including one-half sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a win over Keaau 

Joshua Oh, Kalani — Ran for 118 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in a win over Nanakuli

Michael Papa, McKinley — Caught eight passes for 169 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kaimuki

Garic Pahinui, Kailua — Had two sacks and broke-up a pass in a win over Castle

Tysic Puni, Campebll — Had 7 1/2 tackles, including one for loss, and broke-up two passes in a loss to Kahuku

Logan Rouse, Aiea — Had three sacks and forced a fumble in a win over Waipahu

Romeo Tagata, Waipahu — Had two tackles for losses, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a loss to Aiea

Avin Tanioka, Kaimuki — Caught six passes for 60 yards and three touchdowns in a win over McKinley

Coby Tanioka, Castle — Caught seven passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns and had two tackles in a loss to Kailua

Jonah Togafau-Tavui, Campbell — Ran nine times for 72 yards and two touchdowns, caught five passes for 43 yards and threw for 76 yards on 5-of-9 passing without an interception in a loss to Kahuku

Noa Uchida, Kalani — Caught four passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in a win over Nanakuli

Geronimo Ulgaran, Aiea — Caught 10 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Waipahu

Ofa Vehikite, Kaimuki — Ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries in a win over McKinley

Kalob Victorino-Avilla, Radford — Threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-29 passing with one interception in a win over Kalaheo

Jeremiah White, Kaimuki — Caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 75-yard punt return for touchdown in a win over McKinley

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Mila Aiwohi, Farrington — Had 16 assists and four aces in a three-set win over Pearl City

Katie Arashiro, Roosevelt — Had 17 kills, 14 digs, five assists and one ace in a five-set win over Waialua

Pii Carvalho, University Lab — Had 14 kills, 17 digs, there aces and one solo block in a five-set win over Le Jardin

Tiana Dela Cruz, Waianae — Had 21 digs and an assist in a three-set win over McKinley

Reese Diersbock, Le Jardin — Had 25 kills, 14 digs, one solo block, one block assist, one ace and an assist in a five-set loss to University Lab

Gennezia Hawkins, Le Jardin — Had 43 assists, 17 digs, four kills, one solo block, a block assist and an ace in a five-set loss to University Lab

Piilani Hirahara, Roosevelt — Had 34 assists, five digs and five aces in a five-set win over Waialua

Maiah Kalima-Izumi, University Lab — Had 34 digs in a five-set win over Le Jardin

Leleapaoo Krug, Waianae — Had 16 kills and eight digs in a three-set win over McKinley

Haylee Lyons, Kalani — Had 18 kills and one ace in a four-set win over Nanakuli

Melene Matautia, Nanakuli — Had 12 digs, six kills, six assists and one block assist in a four-set loss to Kalani

Aubrie Molina, Pearl City — Had 16 assists, two kills and two block assists in a three-set loss to Farrington

Aleejah Sunia, Farrington — Had 11 kills and a block assist in a three-set win over Pearl City

Ayre Takamoto, Kalani — Had 23 assists, three aces and two kills in a four-set win over Nanakuli

Haiti Tautuaa, Waianae — Had 32 assists, five kills, one digs and a solo block in a three-set win over McKinley

Makena Tong, University Lab — Had 49 assists, 15 digs, nine kills, two aces and one block assist in a five-set win over Le Jardin 

Shereya Ufuti, Kaiser — Had 11 kills, nine assists and two aces in a three-set win over Campbell

Sydnee Walker, Le Jardin — Had 18 kills, 20 digs, two block assists and one ace in a five-set loss to University Lab





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