War­riors rally, claim No. 2 seed for MILs

Ala­pai has 19 kills, 13 digs in four-set vic­tory over Lu­nas

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

PUKALANI — Hoala Ala­pai got the mes­sage from her older team­mates on the Kame­hameha Schools Maui girls vol­ley­ball team loud and clear on se­nior night at Kaula­heanuiokamoku Gym.

Ala­pai’s 19th kill of the evening fin­ished a 17-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-15 win for the War­riors over La­hainaluna that nailed down sec­ond place in the Maui In­ter­scholas­tic League Di­vi­sion I reg­u­lar sea­son.

“We re­ally strug­gled fight­ing against La­hainaluna tonight,” said Ala­pai, who also had 13 digs and four aces. “We re­ally put all our mana into it, so I feel like it was a for­tu­nate win for all of us. We kept hav­ing, like, glances from the se­niors that we have to beat them or they’re go­ing to do all these things to us, but we just had their backs.”

The War­riors (7-4) and Lu­nas (56) will meet in a cru­cial semi­fi­nal in the MIL D-I tour­na­ment on Mon­day at the La­hainaluna gym — the Lu­nas must win to keep their state tour­na­ment hopes alive, while the War­riors can nail down a state berth in that match.

Had the Lu­nas won to push the teams into a tie in the stand­ings on Thurs­day, they would have fin­ished a match in La­haina on Satur­day that the Lu­nas led two sets to one be­fore it was post­poned by a power out­age that match will not be fin­ished. “It was re­ally im­por­tant be­cause the first cou­ple (matches) with La­haina I couldn’t play be­cause I strained my shoul­der,” Ala­pai said. “I think get­ting sec­ond tonight was very, very im­por­tant.”

The War­riors took a 7-4 lead in the fourth set on a kill by Ala­pai, prompt­ing a time­out from La­hainaluna coach Trixy Nuesca-Ganer. Kills by Sofia Stup­ple­been and Ala­pai pushed the lead to 9-4 and an­other kill by Ala­pai made it 115. A kill by Kaena Cer­vantes gave the War­riors a 13-7 ad­van­tage be­fore a re­sound­ing, straight-down kill and ace by Lo­gan Spencer made it 20-12.

Alea Cer­vantes had nine kills and 16 digs, Spencer had eight kills, 13 digs and six aces, Me­leana Hoopii had 19 digs and Taylor Morita and Kayla Ya­mashita each dished out 24 as­sists for the War­riors, who were swept by the Lu­nas in the teams’ first meet­ing in early Septem­ber.

“It was huge for us be­cause we hadn’t beaten La­hainaluna all sea­son,” Kame­hameha coach Alex Akana said. “It was one of those in your gut that didn’t feel good be­cause you hadn’t won. Hon­estly, we took that game where we didn’t fin­ish as a loss.”

The Lu­nas rolled to the first set af­ter build­ing a 17-9 lead mid­way through.

The next two sets were nail­biters down the stretch.

La­hainaluna led the sec­ond 17-13 be­fore Kame­hameha Maui caught up at 19-19. The Lu­nas took 21-19 and 24-22 leads, but the War­riors ral­lied to score the fi­nal four points to take the set — the run started with a kill by Spencer, fol­lowed by two straight kills by Ala­pai and was fin­ished by an ace by Spencer.

The third set fol­lowed the same path. The Lu­nas led 11-6 and 16-10 be­fore the War­riors caught them at 21-21 on a kill by Ta­tiana Martinez. An­other quick set to Martinez made it 22-21, an ace by Hoopii pushed the lead to 23-21 and an ace by Morita fin­ished the set.

The Lu­nas did not keep statistics, but Nuesca-Ganer said her team will be ready for a must-win ef­fort on Mon­day.

“They woke up and we went to sleep,” Nuesca-Ganer said of the last three sets. “We get to see them again on Mon­day and hope­fully we can pull it to­gether like we did in the first game against them. They’re a great team, we’re a great team and it’s go­ing to be a great match.”

Robert Collias is at rcol­lias @mauinews.com

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Sofia Stup­ple­been and Hoala Ala­pai of Kame­hameha Schools Maui go up to block a shot by La­hainaluna’s Alana Koa dur­ing the first set of the War­riors’ 17-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-15 vic­tory over the Lu­nas on Thurs­day night at Kaula­heanuiokamoku Gym.

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

PHOTO ABOVE: La­hainaluna play­ers cel­e­brate a first-set block Thurs­day. PHOTO BE­LOW: Lo­gan Spencer (left) and Ta­tiana Martinez de­fend the net in the sec­ond set. Kame­hameha Maui’s

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