OIA Boys Volleyball
Mililani to face Moanalua for the OIA D1 boys volleyball title


Mon, Apr 24, 2023 @ Radford [ 7:00 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
ROOS (12-5) 23 25 22 19 - 1
MIL (14-3) 25 21 25 25 - 3

ALIAMANU — It will be the best of the West vs. the best of the East for the OIA Division I crown on Wednesday.

Short-handed Mililani gutted out a four-set win over Roosevelt while reigning champion Moanalua swept Leilehua in the league semifinals at Radford's Jim Alegre Gymnasium Monday night.

The Trojans (12-0) are seeking their fifth overall OIA title and first since 2017 while Na Menehune (13-0) are trying for their 12th championship. First serve is slated for 30 minutes following the Division II title match between Aiea and Radford.

"They're always tough no matter what," Mililani coach Gabriel Maunupau said on the championship showdown with Moanalua, who swept the Trojans in last year's title match.

"That's always our end goal and we want to get there and sometimes it takes a little longer than we expect, and even when we do our best it might not be enough, but we're going to go out there and show them what Mililani volleyball is about."

The Trojans made the championship final without outside hitter Evan Foki (knee), who led the team in kills in their quarterfinal win over Kaiser. They also saw Manase Fetulimoeata come out of the match for a stretch in the fourth set with his left knee wrapped up.

But they adjusted, fought and came away with a 25-23, 21-25, 25-22, 25-19 semifinal win over the Rough Riders (10-3) .

"I think our secondaries (hitters) did a phenomenal job," said Maunupau. "It's just amazing to be able to step in a situation with pressure like this to still be able to function and adjust so consistently to all these variations."

Mililani's Kapena Kanuch fires a kill in the first set against Roosevelt in the OIA Division I semifinals. Brian Bautista | SL    Purchase image

Fetulimoeata still did his thing way with 17 kills and 10 digs and middle-turned-outside Kapena Kanuch followed with 16 kills. Kanuch had five kills each in the sets that the Trojans won.

"We've been working really hard in practice to make sure that everyone can fill each other's roles so that if stuff like this happens we'll be prepared," said Kanuch. "I think it was a little sloppy in the beginning but we definitely made it work at the end and there was a lot of important people filling important roles and really contributing to the win."

Middle Dylan Rego was the next leading attacker with eight kills, which included back-to-back kills to close out set one. Right side hitter Tyler Duranceau added four kills and Ethan George had four more in extended playing time.

Setter Carson Nakamura was at the controls with 45 assists and libero Trevin Matsuba and defensive specialists Kaleo Della Sala and Crisostomo Ibarra all had double-digit digs.

"That's a big piece for us, understanding what your role is and getting those kills when you can, being aggressive when you can, being smart when you can't," said Maunupau. "Everybody knew their role, did a great job with it and executed it pretty well."

In the end Roosevelt made more mistakes than Mililani did. The largest disparity is in service errors with the Trojans committing five and the Rough Riders giving up 17 total points from the line, which included the match-ending point.

Ford Lyons had 15 kills and Justin Toyoma had 12 kills and 10 digs to lead Roosevelt in the loss.

Na Menehune takes care of the Mules, 25-11, 25-18, 25-13
Moanalua earned its 13th consecutive victory over an OIA opponent, but it wasn't without some adversity.

Na Menehune faced multiple deficits in the second set and trailed by as many as three points before a TV timeout was called with Leilehua leading 13-10.

"I think the big thing was that we weren't playing the way that we usually play and we weren't communicating," said Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting.

"We were just taking a lot of things for granted instead of doing what we usually do."

Moanalua then went on a 7-0 run and took the lead on back-to-back blocks by Keola Demello.

Cabanting also pointed to the voice of Kaden Sato for helping to flip the script in the second set.

"Kaden controls the back row really really well. As little and small as the guy is, when he's loud and vocal, everybody knows this is where I got to be, so the moment he started doing that, everybody got a little more comfortable so our transition from defense to offense got a little bit cleaner so that's pretty much what triggered that shift in the second set."

Kai Rodriguez put down a match-high 22 kills to lead Moanalua in the win, but it was a total team effort in the sweep.

Justin "JT" Todd had nine kills, Demello had seven kills and three blocks and Zachary Yewchuk had three aces.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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