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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveNovember 30, 2021, 5:19am
Mon, Nov 29, 2021 @ Kapolei [ 5:30 pm ]
KAPOLEI — Mele Taumoepeau led a balanced offensive effort with a team-high 10 kills to help No. 6 Kahuku hold off unranked Waianae in five sets in a quarterfinal match of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I tournament Monday night.
The Red Raiders (10-1) rallied to beat the Seariders (9-3) by set scores of 16-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-17 and 15-10 before a crowd of about 150 spectators at Kapolei's Alvin Nagasako Athletic Complex.
Kahuku, the No. 2 seed out of the Eastern Division, advances to Tuesday's semifinal round, where it will play No. 5 Kapolei at approximately 7 p.m. at Moanalua. Monday's win also clinched a berth in next month's state tournament.
"It's amazing and I'm happy for the girls; they worked for that," Red Raiders coach Michelle Tevaga said. "They definitely put their heart into that game and so I think we're in a good space from here on out."
It didn't start out looking too promising, however, against upset-minded Waianae, which — despite being without a number of key starters due to COVID protocols — could seemingly do no wrong in the opening set.
The Seariders went on two separate 6-0 runs in set 1 and easily pulled away, 25-16.
Kahuku flipped the script in the second set, when it tallied seven service aces —including four by Dakoda Keni — and used an 18-3 run to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 21-8 lead.
Waianae never trailed in set 3, which it closed out with a 4-1 run to pull back ahead in the best-of-5 match.
The Red Raiders trailed in set 4, 13-12, after Maile Richardson's ace gave the Seariders a slim lead, but it was short lived. A kill by Taumoepeau out of the middle spurred a 9-1 Kahuku run that included three Waianae attack errors and gave her team a 21-14 cushion.
The Seariders scored the next three points to pull to within 21-17, but Kahuku won the next four points to take set 4 and even the match at two sets apiece.
The deciding fifth set, however, was all Kahuku.
The Red Raiders jumped out to a 5-0 lead, sparked by Madison-Marie Mamizuka's ace and capped by by a Kaliko Schilling kill out of the middle off an assist from Mamizuka.
Later in the set, Kahuku scored five consecutive points that culminated with a kill by Chalei Reid from the left side to give her team a 12-4 lead.
Mamizuka and Reid, along with Paea Lauhingoa and Anastaysha Mioi were making their varsity debut for the Red Raiders after all four were recently promoted from the White Division team.
"Yes, that was fun, but at this point, it's whoever can contribute, right?" Tevaga said of the quartet. "Whoever can contribute in a positive way that'll help our team to win and so if that means bringing in players that we had to bring up from the White team, so be it, but our team knows that we can't win with one (player), we can't win with two, we gotta win with all twenty of us and so no matter who's playing, it's a matter of who contributes to the overall part on the court."
Waianae kept it interesting with a 6-1 run that included back-to-back blocks — the first of the solo variety by Richardson, the second, she teamed with Haiti Tautuaa for — to get to within 14-10. But on their third attempt at match point, the Red Raiders finished it off with Emmalei Mapu's eighth kill of the night, off an assist from Shace Niu.
Tevaga said her team's strong start to set 5 was the result of some carryover from the set prior.
"I think that flow came from the fourth set and just making sure to stay in that basic-and-essential mindset," she said. "We don't have to do anything fancy, just making sure that we get the ball up to get a good set and good swing."
Kahuku was playing its first match in 11 days, since a four-set win over Kaiser to finish the regular season back on Nov. 18. Tevaga's squad had a first-round bye, but she said there was no element of rust as far as its slow start Monday night.
"I think it was more so of a mental game than it was a physical one," she explained. "I think we came in wanting not to make any mistakes and it turned into not being the aggressor that we usually are and so I think once we got past that and the mental game — because the mental controls the body — and I think that that early loss kind of got to us and so we had to find ourselves again, find our flow and when we were in that flow, that was us and so just making sure that the girls know, get into that flow, what we usually do and we'll be fine."
Waianae, the No. 3 seed out of the Western Division, was coming off of a sweep of East sixth-seed McKinley in last Wednesday's first round.
Despite playing its second match without standouts Nicanora Clarke, Hannah Feleti, Larrynn-Alexis Joseph-Rodrigues and Shyla Wagner, the Seariders gave the one-loss Red Raiders — who have won their last 10 matches after a season-opening loss to undefeated Moanalua — all that they could handle.
Leleapaoo Krug put down a match-high 14 kills with one ace and an assist and Tautuaa recorded 23 assists, five kills and three block assists to lead Waianae.
"We knew about (Tautuaa) and (Krug) on the outsides so we really keyed on them, but they had such good support on that coverage, the setting and everything else and so even though they had those key players, we had to worry about everybody else as well, so it was a great, great team effort on the part of Waianae," Tevaga acknowledged of the Seariders, who had just nine players suited up.
Reid finished with seven kills and two block assists and Mamizuka dished out a team-high 14 assists, with one kill and an ace. Tevaga credited White Division coach Musie Lauhingoa for prepping the pair well for the varsity level.
"Yes, of course, there's always that hesitation but they were prepared well by our White coach, so I have no — well, as you saw tonight, they were able to step up to the plate — so I was a little bit at first worried about them, but then as soon as they stepped on the court, we knew they wanted to play," Tevaga affirmed.
Makayla Fonoimoana contributed seven kills and Schilling added six, Maia Esera tallied four kills and was in on four blocks. Aiu chipped in with nine assists and an ace and Mapu tallied two more of Kahuku's 10 total aces.
"It was very adventurous," Tevaga said. "We worked through a lot of things, but you know, we made it."
In the late quarterfinal at Kapolei Monday night, West No. 1 seed Kapolei fended off East fourth seed Kalani in a five-set thriller 25-14, 23-25, 22-25, 25-11 and 15-7. The Hurricanes (11-0) got 20 kills by Kailana Andrade, while the Falcons (8-4) were led by Raymie Lum and Haylee Lyons, who had 14 and 12 kills, respectively.
Kalani will play Waianae in a consolation match at approximately 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pearl City. That match will follow Kaiser-Farrington in the other fifth-place semifinal at 5:30 p.m. The winners of both consolation matches will claim the OIA's final two berths in the Division I state tournament.
Along with Kahuku, Kapolei, Mililani and Moanalua also punched their ticket to states Monday night.
The Trojans (10-1) and Na Menehune (11-0) will meet in the 5:30 p.m. semifinal at Moanalua Tuesday, while Kahuku and Kapolei will face-off in the nightcap.
The championship match will take place Thursday night at Moanalua.
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