Kahuku on a streak, sweeps Farrington
BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Kahuku’s Phoebe Grace hit between the block of Farrington’s Kohala Solomon and Moli Heimuli in the first set at Farrington gym on Wednesday.
The big red wall from the North Shore is showing no signs of crumbling.
Phoebe Grace made sure of it, sparking No. 1-ranked Kahuku to a 25-13, 25-18 sweep of Farrington on Wednesday night at Richard Kitamura Gym.
Kahuku improved to 4-0 in OIA Division I play. Farrington is now 0-2 after facing the top two programs in the East.
A crowd of about 200 saw the visiting Red Raiders play with poise and precision, and the 6-foot-2 Grace was an x-factor that no team has been able to neutralize. Grace, who has accepted a scholarship offer to play at the University of Utah, was happy to see many of her teammates get playing time during the quick match.
The Lady Raiders haven’t done a thing differently, Grace said, since upsetting then-No. 1 Kamehameha in nonconference action. Kahuku’s ascent to No. 1 means fans are filling the gym on campus, but other than that, life has gone on as usual.
“Some people tell us, ‘You better not get cocky,’ Grace said. “But we won’t. Coach (Mounia Tachibana) says sometimes we looked bored in our games. Except when we played Kamehameha.”
After overwhelming the home team in the first set, Grace helped her team jump to a 6-2 lead in the second game.
With Grace on the bench, the Governors capitalized and got within 9-8 as the home crowd came to life. Moments later, Grace returned with her team ahead 11-9, and the visitors in red went on an 8-2 run. Grace tipped a set from ShaRae Niu for a clean kill at midcourt, and after ShaLi Niu drilled a kill from the left side, the Lady Raiders led 14-9 and Farrington coach Barney Choi called a timeout.
Middle Kohala Solomon’s kill brought the Lady Govs within three points, but Carey Williams and Grace each sent down a kill as Kahuku opened the lead to 17-10. A kill by Cheyenne Te‘o stretched the margin to nine points.
Sophomore Saryiah Kahakai’s back-row kill brought Farrington within 19-12, but the Lady Raiders took advantage of two Govs miscues, and Brittani Blake’s ace gave the visitors their largest lead, 23-12.
Tachibana’s reserves saw plenty of court time at that point. Farrington rallied to cut the lead to 24-18 before succumbing on Penina Matau’s block to end the match.
Kahuku plays Kailua on Monday before departing on Sept. 14 for three exhibition matches in Nevada.
“We’re playing the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the state,” ShaRae Niu said.