Baldwin Boys Sweep Kamehameha Maui in Volleyball
By Rodney S. Yap
Baldwin High School utilized the outside hitting of Niko Corpin and Ryan Garces to hold off a spirited Kamehameha Maui squad Tuesday, March 19, at the Warriors’ Ka’ulaheanuiokamaoku Gymnasium.
The duo accounted for 23 kills as Baldwin swept KS-Maui in straight sets, 32-30, 25-21, 25-21. The win evens Baldwin’s record to 2-2 in the Maui Interscholastic League boys’ Division I volleyball standings, while Kamehameha Maui fell to 1-2.
“I thought it was a good match,” said Baldwin head coach Kalei Houpo. “We expected Kamehameha to come out like they did, especially in that first set. Even though they were down they still fought hard and they did it in all three sets. They were down seven in that last set and came back.”
Baldwin, which hosts Hana on Saturday, is a half game ahead of Maui High (1-1) in the Division I standings. Meanwhile, Seabury Hall is 3-0 in the boys Division II standings.
“We actually beat ourselves and Baldwin played one of their better games,” said Kamehameha Maui head coach Robert Brede. “They had very limited errors. They were placing the ball in our holes. They were making us work for the ball and we weren’t making good passes.”
The two teams traded kills and errors throughout the first set as the score see-sawed back and forth with the Bears pulling out the nail-bitter. Junior middle blocker Trent Helle came up with a couple of key service aces for Baldwin.
“We knew coming into this match that they were going to be tough. We just had to limit our mistakes,” Houpo said.
“They were consistent on their serves and scored a lot of points on their serves,” Brede noted. “That was key and we just couldn’t pick it up and our passes weren’t crisp enough for us to execute.”
Baldwin built an early lead in the second set before the Warriors mounted a comeback. Brede repeatedly called timeouts to thwart the Bears’ offensive attack and to the coach’s credit the Warriors responded.
Trailing 20-18 with Kamehameha Maui’s Kahiau Andrade serving, the Warriors’ benefitted from a Baldwin net violation, and a kill and a block by Manaloa Alika — tying set two at 20-20.
Another net violation by Baldwin gave KS-Maui a brief 21-20 lead. With Kyson Kaiama serving, the Bears broke a 21-21 tie on a block by Bradley Bowlin, who later added a dink shot at 24-21 en route to the eventual four-point victory.
“When we had opportunities we were giving it to them,” said Brede. “We weren’t looking for the holes and we weren’t making them work for the ball — they were passing it right back and pretty much shoving it down our throats — and they were scoring a lot of points in that sequence. . . . We kept lobbing it over to them, giving them a lollipop and they were killing us.”
Corpin had a team-high 13 kills for the Bears and Garces added 10 kills and a pair of aces. Senior setter Kaiama finished with 35 assists.
“Our outside hitting was the difference,” remarked Houpo. “With Afoa (Laga) hurt, we had to change it up a little.”
Houpo said Corpin got into a groove once he found his mark.
“Once you get him the ball where he wants it, he’ll put it down. And Ryan Garces, what can you say about the kid. He’s the reason why we made the change to put him on the outside. He’s not 100% yet, but you can see his swing is getting a lot quicker.”
In the third set, Kamehameha Maui rallied from seven points down and again drew to within one point of Baldwin, 21-20, by scoring in bunches off the break. The Warriors’ scoring came off the inside play of Andrade and the outside hitting of 5-foot-10 senior RJ Moku and 6-foot-4 junior Kawelau Yen.
“I was using my timeouts more of a momentum killer instead of trying to let them pull themselves out of the hole,” Brede said. “But we had a lot of net calls, crucial calls, and those calls were killing our momentum big time. And our guys were dwelling on it and getting down on themselves, they can’t bounce back quick enough from that. It takes them a few points to get back, and we would battle back and get there and then we would lose it.”
“That’s what scared me actually,” Houpo said of KS-Maui’s timeouts. “Because once they called a timeout I had to settle my boys down and try and stop them from doing that. But they kept on doing it and kept on doing it. Brede is really good at that. I’ve coached with Brede before and I’ve played for him so I know what his tendencies are he utilized those timeouts really well.”
The Warriors play at the Iolani Invitational this weekend before facing Seabury at the Erdman Athletic Center on Tuesday, March 26, starting at 6:15 p.m.