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Prep Football Preview Special
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveOctober 29, 2022, 6:29am
Fri, Oct 28, 2022 @ Stan Sheriff [ 7:00 pm ]
MANOA—A dominant tournament run is rewarded with a koa trophy.
Top-ranked and top-seeded Iolani swept No. 7 and third seed Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-18, 25-17, 25-22 to win their fourth overall New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I State Championship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.
The Raiders did not drop a set in the state tournament, completed the season on a 14-game winning streak, and in the process, handed the Warriors (18-1) their first loss of the year.
"I am super happy for these kids just battling throughout the season. Every adversity they came across, they stepped up to the challenge and they deserved this and playing in front of Raider Nation. I'm super happy for the kids," Kainoa Obrey said, who won his third title as head coach.
KS-Hawaii had a memorable state tournament run after knocking out ILH runner up Punahou in straight sets in the quarterfinal round and outlasted OIA champion Kahuku in five sets to reach the title game.
"What a journey, it was a great journey. One of the best I can think about anything lately. The girls grew tremendously from the three months we had them. The thing I will miss most about this group is the seniors. We're losing seven, they're just great kids and loved every single one of them," KS-Hawaii coach Guy Enriques said.
"It got our attention. From that point on we thought we had to pay attention to that team and see what they're doing. We know they played a lot of good competition throughout the year. They put a lot of pressure because they're coached well," Obrey said, complimenting the Warriors.
Brooke Naniseni led Iolani with 16 kills and hit .200 and also had four digs and assisted on four blocks. Senna Roberts-Navarro chipped in a double-double with 10 kills and 13 digs.
"We both really want to win and we work together and work for each other," Naniseni said.
"We couldn't stop them and we didn't make adjustments like we needed to. They are legit. We knew what they were doing and they still did it to us. Normally we're a tougher serving team, but obviously it didn't matter. Their pins were so good. We eliminated the middle a lot of times, but we couldn't stop the pins," Enriques said.
Tessa Onaga, named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, led all players with 34 digs.
"Phenomenal. Phenomenal. We're asking her to pass about half the court on serve-receive. We're blocking so the ball gets hit to her. We're setting up our blocks so it goes to her so we have a higher percentage of digging the ball. That's how we set up our game plan against them," Obrey said, praising Onaga.
"It feels like I just made it. Validation from a coach is just everything you want," Onaga said.
Maya Imoto-Eakin had a double-double performance of 40 assists and 14 digs.
"She's been doing an incredible job this season and this is her first season as a starting setter. Throughout the season it started out with going out to the outsides but she worked really hard to set the middles and the pins to make it a full team," Naniseni said.
Middles Mari Lawton and Callie Pieper found gaps in the Warriors' court for nine and seven kills respectively and combined on nine of the Raiders' 16 blocks.
New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball Division I All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding Player: Tessa Onaga, Iolani
Maela Honma, Kamehameha-HawaiiSenna Roberts-Navarro, IolaniTaina Kaauwai, Kamehameha-HawaiiMaya Imoto-Eakin, IolaniCallie Pieper, IolaniBrooke Naniseni, IolaniHehea Pulotu, Kahuku
Early on in the first set, it was a feeling-out process as each team traded points as the Raiders created a five-point cushion after Roberts-Navarro's kill. KS-Hawaii was able to close the gap to three, but Iolani finished the set on a 7-2 run punctuated by back-to-back kills from Pieper.
"We didn't give them too much of a streak but we were able to create our own run and try to hold them off. I'm proud of our kids of how they stood up to that test and was able to figure it out in the end," Obrey said.
Iolani built an early lead, but KS-Hawaii tied up the set after an error. Taina Kaauwai and Shay Beals combined on a block and a kill from Sarah Schubert gave the Warriors their first lead of the match that forced a timeout from Obrey.
"The middles and outside were a threat and the outside. We made a game plan today and we tried to execute it. They have fast hitters but we were trying to get our block on it quick and it worked out," Onaga said.
The Raiders tied the set at 11 but KS-Hawaii responded with three-straight points after Eryn Hiraki's attack went long. Iolani capitalized on side outs and tied the set at 15 after Naniseni's kill.
"We're a really good side out team. I think that's the biggest thing and you're absolutely right, they play with a lot of emotion and get on some streaky runs. I looked to our coaches and said we're different from other teams they played is we side out. We side out a good percentage and we trust our hitters and passers that we can make these plays," Obrey said.
Three consecutive attack errors made it 18-15 in favor of Iolani that forced a Warrior timeout. Iolani went on a 7-2 run to end the set and Imoto-Eakin landed the team's only ace to go up 2-0.
"When it's really close like that, we made a couple mistakes, we cannot do that. You're two points ahead or one point behind and you make an unforced error, it's critical. We have to be almost perfect or close to perfect when you're at that point in time in the scoring against a team like that," Enriques said.
KS-Hawaii led 16-13 midway through the third set after Haliimailelaulii Kuamoo's kill. Iolani clawed back and tied it after Lawton finished off Imoto-Eakin's assist with a kill near the back row to force a Warrior timeout.
Maela Honma tied the set at 19 with a kill and tied it again at 22 following a kill from Kilinoelehua Helm.
"They understand their game plan and their identity is and play to their identity. They have great arms in the middle and on the left. If they just keep battling and don't give up until the very end. You saw that in the third set, after two sets like that it's going to be tough. Teams that are well-coached are going to come out like that everytime," Obrey said.
Honma, who had a great run with 21 kills against ILH runner up Punahou and had 17 kills in a five-set thriller over Kahuku, was held to five kills and hit minus.059 for the match. She also added 16 digs and a service ace.
The Raiders went middle to Pieper and Schubert's attack went wide. Imoto-Eakin set up Pieper, who landed the kill just inside the line to complete the sweep and start the celebration.
Schubert and Helm each had eight kills to lead he Warriors. Libero Leisey Kelii had a team-high 20 digs and Savanna Colliado had 13 assists.
Kaauwai had breakout performances against Punahou (12 kills) and Kahuku (13 kills) was limited to four kills and a block assist.
Iolani hit .168 for the match while KS-Hawaii hit .018.
KS-Hawaii was seeking their first-ever state title in school history and first school since Hilo to bring a state title back to the Big Island.
Iolani won their first title in 2001 under the late Ann Kang and Obrey won titles in 2016 and 2018.
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