OIA Boys Volleyball
Rams make history at Alegre Gymnasium


Wed, Apr 26, 2023 @ Radford [ 5:30 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
RAD (11-4) 25 25 25 - - 3
AIEA (9-7) 14 20 18 - - 0
Kill: K. Kaneakua (RAD) 11 kills
Blk: R. Dilks (RAD) 4 blk
Ast: R. Dilks (RAD) 24 ast

ALIAMANU — History was made at Jim Alegre Gymnasium Wednesday night.

The Radford Rams captured their first OIA boys volleyball championship with a 25-14, 25-20, 25-18 win over Aiea on their home court in the league's Division II title match.

Radford had a rocky start to the season with three straight losses, but it banded together and rattled off nine consecutive wins before taking the crown.

"It definitely took a lot to turn that around," said Radford coach Melanie Toloumu. "We started off with the three strongest teams in the West, but I feel like my message after those three losses was 'we can't let them be in vain, we have to learn from it,' and so they picked it up and kept working. They're definitely a great group of kids and they want to learn and they love the game."

The Rams (9-3) were also bolstered by the addition of sophomore Keahi Kaneakua, who helped Pearl City win league and state titles in D2 last season. Kaneakua had a double-double of 11 kills and 13 assists with five digs, three aces and two blocks to lead Radford in the match.

"He can play anywhere," Toloumu said of Kaneakua. "He's a very humble player so I think he fits in with the team really well."

Radford's Keahi Kaneakua puts up a set as one of the Rams' 6-2 setters. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

Isaac Guerrero followed with nine kills and 11 digs and Robert Dilks posted a stat line of 24 assists, six kills, five digs, four blocks and two aces. Brady Ryder and Kainalu Shiraishi each had five kills apiece to round out the top attackers for the Rams.

Aiea (8-5) was without its top attacker in Fidelis Mauigoa (hand injury). Marcus Tauanuu led Na Alii in the loss with seven kills and seven digs.

"I know one of their main hitters wasn't in so I think that definitely contributed to us having to adjust to a new lineup that they were running and I felt like we were trying our best to adjust along the way," Toloumu said of Aiea. "They have a lot of talented players that play smart and they hustle."

The Rams set the tone early from the service line. They tallied three of their seven total aces before the TV timeout in the opening set when they led 13-6.

"Every practice no matter what, serve and serve receive," said Dilks. "It's what we start with and it's our basis that we pride ourselves on. From where our serve are now to where they were at the beginning of the season, just amazing."

Radford also made adjustments to its attack and utilize the Aiea block to its favor as the Rams got multiple kills that went off a Na Alii blocker.

"At the beginning of the season, (our block) were getting tooled a lot, so we worked on tooling (the block) in the games and in practice and that just translated over," said Dilks. "We just went for their hands, that's all we did."

Both teams are qualified for the New City Nissan Boys Volleyball Championships, with the D2 eight-team tournament starting on May 10.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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