OIA Girls Volleyball
Waialua storms back to capture first-ever OIA crown in five-set thriller over Kailua


Wed, Oct 19, 2022 @ Radford [ 5:30 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
WLUA (8-7) 25 23 11 25 15 3
KAIL (5-10) 16 25 25 23 12 2

Small town, big hearts.

The Waialua girls volleyball team captured its first-ever OIA championship in school history in a five-set thriller over Kailua in the league's Division II title match at Radford's Jim Alegre Gymnasium Wednesday night.

The set scores were 25-16, 23-25, 11-25, 25-23, 15-12.

Alohi Garcia had a double-double of 15 kills and 11 digs with five aces and Kailia Phillips put down eight of her 12 kills in the final two sets to power the Bulldogs in the win, their fifth in their last six matches.

Tehya Militante added nine kills — which included two in a row to give Waialua a 13-10 lead in the final set — and Lilinoe Nahinu had five kills and two solo blocks to round out the Bulldogs' attack. Brynn Basilio-Chun was at the controls with 37 assists.

"It means everything," said Garcia. "We're a small city, but it's all love. To finally be here and even make it means so much to us."

The strength of the Bulldogs came at the service line with 14 total aces. It helped Waialua take an early 8-1 lead in set one when Garcia had a pair of aces in a 7-0 run — and in the final set when tough serves got Kailua out of system with the score tied at 10-10. An ace from Phillips gave Waialua a decisive 14-10 lead to set up match point in the final period.

"Main thing we kept the ball in. We served effectively, we served tough and we just put the ball back on their side," said Waialua coach Bronson Chun. "They had a harder time passing the ball and that gave us the edge on that I believe."

The match also came down to adjustments. Waialua's serving helped the Bulldogs take the first set, but the Surfriders stormed back to take the second and third set. Kailua did work with controlled shots and tips over the Waialua block while also reading Waialua's offense and stonewalling multiple hits to finish with nine total blocks.

Serve receive also broke down for Waialua in the third set, which was the most decisive out of the five with Kailua winning 25-11. The Surfriders totaled seven of their 11 aces in the third set alone.

Coach Chun said the Bulldogs just needed to relax and play their game to get through that rough patch.

"We just had to calm them down," said Chun. "We were making too much errors on our part. We had missed serves, we weren't hitting the ball effectively, we weren't covering, so we took it back to the basics. We made sure everybody was there where they was supposed to be, play their spot first and then play off the ball once the ball was hit."

Most of Kailua's blocks came when it was keying on Garcia, which made Phillips' contributions down the stretch crucial in the Bulldogs' turnaround after the third set.

"Kailia has matured so much throughout the season," Garcia said of Phillips. "She just pulls through whenever we need her. Our setter sets her up with one blocker and she just demolishes it. She puts in training every morning, every night and she deserved impact player."

Chun said the Bulldogs were also wiser in the hit selection to navigate against the Surfriders' block.

"We know that there's a lot of holes on the court and we don't have to pound every ball," he said. "Instead of us trying to do that, we just placed the ball and we punch some holes and took advantage of those kind of shots and we led their defense work on them."

Ashlyn Tai led the Surfriders in the loss with a match-high 20 kills.

The Surfriders were seeking their first league crown since 1981.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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