War­riors rally past Na Alii

Ra­panot-Uyechi leaves with in­jury

The Maui News - - SPORTS - By ROBERT COLLIAS Staff Writer

PUKALANI — Talia Leaua­nae wasn’t about to let her Kamehameha Schools Maui girls vol­ley­ball team walk away qui­etly Thurs­day night.

Leaua­nae smacked a match-high 26 kills, lead­ing the War­riors to a 23-25, 19-25, 25-14, 27-25, 15-8 win over King Kekaulike at Kaula­heanuiokamoku Gym.

The War­riors fought off two match points in the fourth set in stay­ing un­beaten this year in the Maui In­ter­scholas­tic League.

“I’m hon­estly re­ally proud of my team, we were kind of giv­ing up the third set,” Leaua­nae said. “I was push­ing them, like, ‘No, it’s not over, it’s not over.’ I’m just so proud that we did it.”

The War­riors (6-0) now hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against Na Alii (4-2), who lost another top player to in­jury when Shaina Ra­panot-Uyechi left in the fourth set.

Ra­panot-Uyechi, the team cap­tain and an MIL first-team All-Star last year at Kamehameha, had to be helped from the floor be­fore re­turn­ing to watch the re­main­der of the match in a wheel­chair af­ter an ap­par­ent knee in­jury.

“You know, Shaina is my vote for Player of the Year,” said Na Alii coach Al Paschoal. “She meant so much for the team and when that hap­pens it’s just heart­break­ing. It’s tough be­cause she came from Kamehameha and she re­ally wanted to help us get this win. We were play­ing a good brand of ball when she went down, un­for­tu­nately.”

Ra­panot-Uyechi, who has ver­bally com­mit­ted to ac­cept a vol­ley­ball schol­ar­ship from the Air Force Acad­emy, had moved from her reg­u­lar libero spot to take over at set­ter for Kalena Vaivai — the reign­ing MIL Player of the Year was on the bench with a walk­ing boot on her bro­ken right foot. Paschoal said he was not sure of a timetable for the re­turn of ei­ther player.

“It’s so sad, so un­for­tu­nate, but it’s some­thing that hap­pens in ath­let­ics,” said Kamehameha coach Alex Akana. “I feel sad for Kekaulike be­cause I feel like they’ve been in that boat all sea­son.”

Na Alii led 24-22 in the fourth set af­ter Chan­dler Cow­ell slammed home a kill. A ser­vice er­ror, fol­lowed by an ace by the War­riors’ Aliah Ayau, tied the set at 24-24. A kill by Leaua­nae gave Kamehameha a 26-25 lead and Alea Cer­vantes’ kill sent the match to the fifth set.

The War­riors then bolted to an 8-2 lead, and ended the match with a 4-1 run that in­cluded two kills by Ayau.

Ayau fin­ished with 58 as­sists, Cer­vantes had 16 kills, Ki­mani Fer­nan­dez-Roy had nine kills and Mele Hoopii had five aces.

Na Alii led 18-12 in the first set be­fore the War­riors scored the next six points be­hind the serv­ing of Inez Gar­cia. There were ties at 19-19, 20-20 and 22-22 be­fore King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love scored back-to­back points on a dink and a solo block. A kill by Nina Macphetridge ended the set.

Na Alii scored eight of the fi­nal 10 points of the sec­ond set, which ended on a com­bined block by Cym­bree Trent and An­nika Stamm­berger.

In the third set, the War­riors built a 17-12 lead and Leaua­nae then had kills on five of the next six points for her team. Her block gave Kamehameha set point.

Macphetridge had 20 kills, two blocks and 16 digs, Cow­ell had 13 kills and 14 digs, Ra­panot-Uyechi had 28 as­sists and 11 digs, and Love had eight kills and two blocks.

The War­riors’ Talia Leaua­nae de­fends at the net against Na Alii’s Shaina Ra­panot-Uyechi (right) and Cym­bree Trent dur­ing the sec­ond set.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER pho­tos

Ki­mani Fer­nan­dez-Roy of Kamehameha Schools Maui tries to get a shot past King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love (left) and Brook­lynne Al­brecht dur­ing the sec­ond set of the War­riors’ 23-25, 19-25, 25-14, 27-25, 15-8 win over Na Alii on Thurs­day at Kaula­heanuiokamoku Gym.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love (right) and Brook­lynne Al­brecht block a shot by Kamehameha Maui’s Alea Cer­vantes in the first set Thurs­day.

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