Kamehameha Maui Girls VB Team Beats Kekaulike in 4September 19, 2015, 2:26 PM HST · Updated September 20, 7:21 PM 0 Comments
By Rodney S. Yap
In front a nation of pink, and fused by the spirit of homecoming, the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team answered its own challenge Friday, loosening the Division I strangle-hold held by cross-town rival King Kekaulike last year.
The Warriors transformed fears into fun, securing at least a tie-breaker with a 25-21, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23 victory over King Kekaulike, before a packed Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym on the school’s Upcountry campus.
Describing his team as “a work in progress” earlier this season, Warrior head coach Bala Spencer likes how his team has embraced the pressure of playing in a see-saw match.
“Man that was fun,” said Spencer, referring to the 400 plus fans in attendance, including the loud Warrior supporters who wore pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “We are really proud of the girls. They have worked hard. we are not perfect but we work at it play by play and try to take advantage of what we got and keep pushing.”
Kamehameha Maui improved to 7-0, while Na Alii slipped to 5-2.
Senior Kaira Lee Davis had 15 kills to lead all Warriors. Junior Selai Damuni added 12 kills and Kylee Yamashita and Kanilea Nomura each had eight.
“It was huge, it was a huge, huge win for us,” Spencer repeated. “It’s a huge step in the right direction. Our girls are on the right path, we just have to continue to walk in that path.”
Yamashita and Damuni each had three blocks. Aliah Ayau had 11 digs and Kaala Corpuz had 10.
“Fantastic volleyball, all night long, plain and simple,” said King Kekaulike coach Al Paschoal. “It was a serve and receive game. It’s funny, but, no matter how complex the game can get and how good the teams are, it always comes down to the basics: serve and receive. . . . Our passing kind of failed us in the end, but we battled back and they battled back just as well.”
Chandler Cowell had 13 kills for King Kekaulike, while reigning MIL Player of the Year Treyanna Freitas, freshman Kalena Vaivai and Breannalye Rodrigues each had 10.
“As far as individual performances, I thought it was awesome across the board, sometimes the ball just doesn’t bounce your way,” Paschoal added. “I expected a battle like that and it’s going to continue all year long. Everybody has put that big target on King Kekaulike. It’s good now we can take the target off and put it on their (the Warriors’) backs.
In addition, Freitas had three aces and 28 digs, while Vaivai contributed five blocks and Kawehi Mahoney had four aces.
“Treyanna Freitas is playing fantastic for us and to have a player who is going to play at the next level is really special,” the coach said of captain Freitas, who has already agreed to play at Washington State next fall.
“They have her pegged as the team’s projected starting libero at Washington State next year. Hopefully that will happen for her, we still have a long ways to go yet.”
Meanwhile, Paschoal said the coaching staff is trying to build a stronger supporting cast around Freitas. “I thought sophomore Chandler Crowell played fantastic and freshman Kalena Vaivai was amazing. The younger girls stepped up tonight.”
Spencer moved senior captain Danielle Brown back to setter, where she started two years ago. The move has helped the Warriors in multiple ways. Brown delivered 45 assists on Friday to go with the 54 she had in her team’s five-set victory earlier this season at Kekaulike.
“Not only is she a great ball handler, but what we value even more is her leadership skills. When she comes onto the court she is constantly communicating with the other players, and we need that.
“We don’t have a young team, but we have an inexperienced team. Not too many have been to states . . . and the players who are playing key roles for us are young players like Kylee Yamashita a first-year varsity player.”
On Friday, Brown went to Damuni when the offense needed a spark and the outside hitter was successful with kills down the line.
“She likes to hit the ball hard and sometimes it gets her in trouble. So we remind her that possessions are super important in these types of games versus power. But she kept swinging her way out of situations. . . . And if it works, we try to keep feeding it.”
The two teams will meet against on Oct. 7 at King Kekaulike.