HHSAA Girls Volleyball
Junior Bows outduel Bulldogs to win first girls volleyball crown since 1990


Sat, Dec 11, 2021 @ Blaisdell [ 5:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
LJA (12-5) 26 19 24 25 9 2
ULS (13-4) 28 25 19 22 15 3
Kill: M. Ah Yat (ULS) 32 kills
Ast: M. Tong (ULS) 56 ast

The Jr. Bows took the long road to its first state girls volleyball title since 1990.

University Lab outdueled Le Jardin in a five set thriller, 28-26, 25-19, 19-24, 22-25, 15-9, in the title game of the HHSAA Division II girls volleyball championship.

"It means a lot for our school actually, we pulled it off for our school and this is for them," said Milan Ah Yat, who was named that tournament's Most Outstanding Player after pouring in 32 kills in the victory.

Makena Tong, who had a lofty 56 assists in the victory and set Ah Yat an equally lofty 75 times during the match, praised the work ethic and perseverance of her go-to hitter.

"She came back from an injury earlier in the season and she pushed really hard, she wanted to work hard for this," said Tong of Ah Yat. "I trusted her through the whole season that she was going to get me that kill every ball I set her, and she did was did."

In the course of just over 24 hours, the top seeded Jr. Bows played 10 sets of volleyball, rallying back from a 2 set to none deficit against defending champion Damien before going the distance with the Bulldogs in their fifth match of the year. The two teams racked up 20 total sets against each other over the course of the season.

Greg Yamamoto | SL    Purchase image

"I think we adjusted every time we played them and this last one we put our all into it and pushed through," said Ah Yat of Le Jardin.

The first two sets went the Jr. Bows' way, though the first went down to the wire with 13 ties and six lead changes in that one alone. Ah Yat dominated the match early, notching 11 kills in the opening set and another six in the second.

Despite having their backs against the wall, Le Jardin seemed to play more freely and confidently in set three and especially in set four, where the Bulldogs muscled their way out of a 21-17 hole, using an 8-1 scoring run to force a winner-take-all final set.

The Bulldogs weren't able to capitalize on any momentum gained by evening the match at two sets a piece in the deciding fifth, and the Jr. Bows jumped out to a 4-1 advantage on Ah Yat's 31st kill. Le Jardin chipped away to get within a single point at 10-9 on a Genezia Hawkins' dump shot, but that would be last points put on the scoreboard for Le Jardin.

"Have fun. That's what it was," said Tong of her teammates mindset in the final set. "We play the best when we have fun and our goal was five points at a time and get them one by one."

University Lab scored the final five points of the contest, none via an attack, and the celebration began on the floor, from the bench and also in the stands.

"Everyone worked hard. The crowd brought us up, the parents, everybody that contributed this season, this is all our win," remarked Tong.

Pii Carvalho lhad a game-high three aces, part of nine total by the Jr. Bows, that kept the Bulldogs off balance for much of the match in serve-receive.

New City Nissan Girls/HHSAA Volleyball State Championships

Division II All-Tournament Team

Pii Carvalho, University Laboratory
Gennezia Hawkins, Le Jardin
Maiah Kalima-Izumi, University Laboratory
Avery Perreira, Maryknoll
Makena Tong, University Laboratory
Sydnee Walker, Le Jardin
Kody Wengler, Damien

Most Outstanding Player: Milan Ah Yat, University Laboratory

"Getting them out of system that was the main goal and they are a great team, we knew they could pass so we needed to serve tough," said Tong.

Carvalho was one of three Jr. Bows with double digit kills, putting down 13. Sophomore Liliana Dutcher also came up big, contributing 11 kills, including two key attacks down the stretch in set five.

"For her it's getting that confidence out of her," said Tong of Dutcher. "She's unstoppable and she doesn't even know it herself."

Le Jardin was led by the combination of Reese Diersbock and Sydnee Walker, with 21 and 17 kills respectively. Setter Genezia Hawkins had nine kills and 39 assists in the loss.

This win marked the ninth girls volleyball title for University Laboratory, who won seven straight titles between 1984 and 1990, four under Raplee Fitzsimmons and three guided by Glennie Adams.

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