OIA Girls Volleyball
Moanalua outslugs Mililani to reach OIA D1 title game


Tue, Nov 30, 2021 @ Moanalua [ 5:30 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
MIL (14-3) 25 17 22 25 12 2
MOA (15-2) 21 25 25 22 15 3
Kill: K. Garcia (MOA) 25 kills
Blk: H. Perez (MOA) 6 blk

Moanalua avenged a loss to Mililani in the 2019 OIA Division I title game with a marathon of a match, 21-25, 25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12, setting up a championship game with fellow Eastern Division power Kahuku.

"It means so much after losing to Mililani the first time, I was like we need to win this because we need revenge and we took the dub," said setter Allexis Iramina of the victory.

Kamaluhia Garcia slammed down a match-high 25 kills, Kelia Giusta added 22 kills and three blocks and Irimina had a team-high 37 assists and added five kills and an ace for Na Menehune, who dropped only the first set since losing the second set in a season opener against the Red Raiders on Oct. 12.

Na Menehune started off a bit flat, falling behind by a many as seven late in the set at 17-10 before rallying to within two at 23-21 before dropping the first set 25-21 as Rheana Deen-Jackson finished things off with back-to-back kills.

The home team rallied to win the next two sets, bolstered by a string of four aces in one service rotation by Bailey Kaawa and seven kills in set two by Kelia Giusta, then by a combined 12 kills by Giusta and Garcia in the third.

Perhaps the biggest impact out of the first set loss was the switch to a 5-1 offense, opting to go almost exclusively with Iramina.

"Our offense became a little more consistent," said Moanalua head coach Alan Cabanting. "With that our hitters got into a little more of a rhythm which really worked nicely for us."

Irimina added, "I feel like it was better for the hitters because they have the same tempo, they know what tempo I'm going."

While the change put Moanalua in command in set four, Mililani responded in a big way, racing out to big lead in set four thanks to an 8-0 scoring run that put the Trojans at set point at 24-15. Despite the large margin, Na Menehune battled to close the set to within 24-22, highlighted by Hokulani Perez, whocame up with three huge solo blocks that may not have turned the set in the home team's favor, but certainly provided some momentum heading into the decisive fifth.

"Hoku was huge. We weren't setting her a ton, but she came through by being there on defense by blocking some balls and bring the momentum back to our side," said Cabanting.

Na Menehune outblocked the Trojans by a healthy 14-5 margin, led by Perez's six total blocks (five solo).

Both teams already have tickets punched to next week's HHSAA Division I state tournament, and as important as a league title is to his squad, Cabanting was pleased with the improvement from this match as well. 

"Very excited, very happy. We're finding out our personalities," said Cabanting. "Been asking players to make plays and be put in situation that they haven't been in awhile and they did it tonight."

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