HHSAA Girls Volleyball
Bulldogs cap undefeated run through Division II to win third state crown


Fri, Oct 28, 2022 @ Stan Sheriff [ 5:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
HBA (11-8) 17 16 27 25 8 2
LJA (17-0) 25 25 25 19 15 3

MANOA — The title returns home to Le Jardin.

The Bulldogs outlasted Hawaii Baptist in a five-set affair in the New City Nissan Division II state championship match to complete an undefeated season Friday night at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Senior outside hitter Reese Diersbock put down 31 kills — including six in the final set — to power Le Jardin (17-0) to its third state crown in its sixth straight D2 championship match appearance.

The set scores were 25-17, 25-16, 25-27, 19-25, 15-8.

"We've been working on this for a really long time," said senior Sydnee Walker, who added 27 kills and hit .412 for the match. "We've been training to get to this place and we've been working together as a team, so to be able to pull this off was great."

The Bulldogs were able to pull away in the first two stanzas, but adjustments by HBA (11-8) led to a fifth and final set to decide the victory.

Le Jardin coach Lee Lamb's message to his team before the final set was straightforward.

"Have fun, it was really that simple," said Lamb, who guided the Bulldogs' to state title wins in 2016 and 2017.

"We went out into the corridor a little bit and we just talked about letting go of the pressure. Never mind the undefeated season, just come in here and enjoy the game. We had a blast all season. No need to change anything."

Diersbock, who is listed at 5-foot-11, got going early in the final stanza. A kill after a long rally gave Le Jardin an early 3-1 lead and a tip kill after another rally made it 5-3. Diersbock also got a back row kill off a bump set by libero Hailee Naone (27 digs) to make it 6-4 in the fifth set.

"Reese was just on fire for me," Lamb said of Diersbock, who also recorded match point.

"She was pretty much scoring at will when we got her the ball. I just wanted to get it to her at the start (of the last set.)"

HBA momentarily made it a one-point game after an initial Le Jardin attack was ruled long, but after a long discussion by the officials, Walker was credited with a kill as the referees ruled that an HBA player touched the ball. This made the score 7-4 in favor of Le Jardin.

Momentum started to flow in favor of the Bulldogs as miscommunication between the Eagles' senior opposite Sydney Hankey and setter Leina Chu on the following point resulted in a collision to make it a four-point game to prompt an HBA timeout.

The two teams traded points after the stoppage, but a Walker kill and an ace by Nicole Andersch prompted another HBA timeout with the score showing 11-5. The Bulldogs continued their strong run after the timeout when setter Gennezia Hawkins (57 assists) and middle Sydni Gardner (eight total blocks) combined for a block to make it a 12-5 game.

"Le Jardin got off to a great start and we didn't play to our ability," HBA coach Myles Shioji said of the final set. "They pushed the action and unfortunately we didn't answer the call."

New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball Division II All-Tournament Team

Most Outstanding Player: Reese Diersbock, Le Jardin

Marissa Nakata, Hawaii Baptist
Gennezia Hawkins, Le Jardin
Sydnee Walker, Le Jardin
Caitlin Wong, Hawaii Baptist
Hope Fine, Maryknoll
Kaila Kalama-Bajet, Damien
Kody Wengler, Damien

Marisa Nakata led the Eagles in the loss with 30 kills on 73 swings. She hit .301 for the match and added a team-high 16 digs with three block assists and three aces.

The Bulldogs hit .216 in the opening set and nearly doubled their hitting percentage in the second set to give them the early 2-0 set lead.

Adjustments by HBA in the third set helped turn the tide and gave the Eagles momentum to win the fourth set as they notched their first set wins over Le Jardin this season. After hitting under .100 in the first two sets, HBA hit .256 in the third set and increased its percentage to .393 in the fourth set.

"We changed it to a 6-2 and put a bigger blocker with Diersbock up there. We had to," said Shioji.

Chu handled most of the setting duties for the Eagles before Tablytha Yee got into the rotation down the stretch. When Yee's rotation spot was in the front row, Hankey came in and was able to garner eight of her 11 kills in the third and fourth set.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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