OIA Boys Volleyball
No. 5 Mililani leapfrogs No. 9 Campbell atop OIA D1 West standings


Wed, Apr 10, 2024 @ Campbell [ 6:30 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
MIL (15-2) 25 25 25 - - 3
CAMP (10-4) 12 18 18 - - 0
Kill: A. Mateo (MIL) 17 kills

EWA BEACH — Aris Mateo put down a match-high 17 kills to lead No. 5 Mililani in a resounding sweep of No. 9 Campbell in an Oahu Interscholastic Association boys volleyball match Wednesday night. The set scores were 25-12, 25-18 and 25-18.

The Trojans improved to 9-0 and leapfrogged the Sabers, who fell to 9-1, for sole possession of first place atop the OIA Division I West standings. Regardless of its result against Kapolei Monday, Mililani will be the No. 1 seed out of the West in the upcoming 12-team league tournament by virtue of holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Sabers. 

Campbell saw its senior night spoiled by the visitors, but will still have a first-round bye in the OIA playoffs as the West No. 2 seed. 

Mililani used a balanced, efficient attack to overwhelm the previously-unbeaten Sabers. Tyler Duranceau recorded eight kills, Kapena Kanuch seven and Evan Lehano-Foki five. 

"It feels great. Me and my teammates just practice all the time, put in hard work — it just feels great," Duranceau said. 

Middles Lauvai Pine and Tiamu Lopa chipped in four and three kills, respectively. Tyce Nakamura tallied 19 assists, while Carson Nakamura (no relation) dished out 14 assists in the win. 

"I think for us it's nice that we have balance where if somebody is off we have six hitters as opposed to only two primaries and because our passing was pretty good it kind of helped us stay balanced and that's kind of what I feel we offer: an offensive threat every night," Mililani coach Gabriel Maunupau said. 

The Trojans set the tempo early on with a six-point service run by Tyce Nakamura, who opened the match an ace. The 6-0 run also included four straight kills by Mateo from the left side. 

Mililani's Tyce Nakamura (8) gets ready to serve the ball against Campbell in the first set. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

Mateo credited Nakamura for his tough serving. 

"(Tyce's) hard floats set a good tempo for the team. I feel like we really got a lot of free ball opportunities to come and execute and get some points," said Mateo, who had seven kills in each of the first two sets. 

Maunupau echoed Mateo's assessment. 

"I think it kind of just tells us where we are and what we want to bring every time we travel, no matter who we're playing and what we're coming here to do, just setting the tone early with being aggressive and also knowing how to control and keep that lead in the beginning," he said. 

The Trojans separated in the opening set with runs of 5-0 and 6-0. They finished off set 1 with consecutive kills by Duranceau from the left side. His cross-court shot initiated set point and his tip over a Campbell double block closed it out, 25-12. 

The teams went back and forth for much of set 2 until Mililani found some breathing room with a 5-0 run that included four Sabers' errors — three of them attack errors and one double-contact violation. 

Pine tallied a solo block to give his team a 20-13 cushion and several points later, Mateo also turned back a Campbell attack to stretch it to 23-15. Mateo went off the block from the left side to give his team set point and did the same from the right side not long after to close out set 2, 25-18. 

Mililani seized control of set 3 with a 10-2 run that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 12-5 lead. Kanuch put down back-to-back-to-back kills from the right side and the Trojans capped the run with a Mateo kill out of the back row off an assist from Carson Nakamura. 

Campbell was able to get within 18-15 after a Di'Angleo Poland kill from the right side, but Mililani closed out the third set with a 7-3 run. Lehano-Foki's cross-court shot found the floor for the final point. 

Maunupau, who did not use any of his timeouts over the course of the match, lauded his team's senior leadership whenever the Sabers made a run. 

"I think they just understand what their roles are," Maunupau said of his 11 seniors. "I think they're excited to kind of take that step and they understand the sense of urgency. They're going to try their best to kind of stop those point runs as much as possible and understand that we gotta side out to kill any kind of momentum so that way we can get to the next point and then just building upon that."

Mateo noted that protecting leads has been a recent point of emphasis in practices. 

"Our coaches have been cracking us down on giving up the lead a lot, so we've been trying to focus on just side-ing out as quickly as possible and we were able to execute really well," Mateo said. 

The Trojans limited Campbell's prolific pair of pin hitters, Julius Momoe-Mitchell and Mozaic Mulipola, to eight and six kills, respectively. 

"I think that was huge. I think our tough serving definitely put them in bad situations that helped us play a little better (defense) and we had some great digs from all our players, especially our libero, Trevin (Matsuba), and middle blockers with guys like Tiamu and Lauvai just really touching the ball and creating just havoc in a lot of ways," Maunupau said. 

Mililani's Lauvai Pine (25) goes up for a block against Campbell's Lautaimi Falaniko (20) in the second set. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

Mililani has not dropped a set in the regular season since it beat Waialua in four sets back on March 13. It was the lone set dropped by Maunupau's squad in OIA West play. 

Since then the Trojans have had strong showings in several non-league tournaments. They won the Hawaii Boys Volleyball Invitational at Iolani last month, recorded a runner-up finish in a tournament hosted by Kamehameha-Hawaii and placed third at Punahou's prestigious Clash of the Titans.  

"I think it's exciting to know that our team can kind of weather some of those difficult situations and handle themselves under pressure," Maunupau said. "I think it's our first test for the league side because we've been having those experiences with previous tournaments, so it's just nice to see it happen today."

Mateo said that despite the big win Wednesday, the team is taking the victory in stride. 

"This is just another game," he said. "Our goal is bigger than just OIAs — it's to win states — so we have our eyes set on bigger things; this is just a stepping block."

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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