Kahuku sweeps Farrington to capture OIA East crown
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
Kahuku’s Keau Kamakeeaina and Mary Fonoimoana put up a wall against Farrington on Thursday.
Kahuku took one step closer toward the OIA girls volleyball championship that slipped out of its fingertips last year.
The Red Raiders celebrated senior night by dropping Farrington 25-15, 25-23 at Kahuku on Thursday night. The win clinched the OIA East title and gave Kahuku (10-1) a bye in the first round of the league playoffs. By losing, Farrington (9-2) dropped to third place in the East and will play a first-round game Wednesday on its home court. The loss by the Govs allowed Moanalua (9-2) to slip into second place in the East and get a first-round bye due to a head-to-head tiebreaker with Farrington.
Kahuku is aiming to add to the banner it won in 2016.
“It is great,” Red Raiders coach Tuli Tevaga said, when reminded that her team is getting a first-round bye. “They earned it and worked hard for it. We hope to continue to progress from here, continue to strengthen our game.”
Kahuku took the first set relatively easily, compared to the second stanza that was hotly contested throughout. The Red Raiders took leads of 13-9, 21-12 and 23-15. Savannah Taosoga’s kill made it 24-15 before a Farrington hitting error clinched it.
The second set was quite different. Early on, there were five ties and two lead changes before the Red Raiders took charge at 16-10, leading to a furious Govs comeback.
A kill by Khylene Pasion-Nau and two from Jasmine Uahinui helped Farrington cut it to three, 19-16. Later, a kill each by Pasion-Nau and Alelujah Faamasino got the Govs to 22-22.
But Kahuku got a kill from Makayla Fonoimoana-Vaomu and an ace from Keau Kamakeeaina for a 24-22 edge. After Farrington countered with a kill by Pasion-Nau, Serenity Mamizuka’s kill finished the match.
“We’ve gotta play more disciplined, like we did in Set 2,” said Farrington coach and former University of Hawaii player Kelly Ong. “In the first set, we were roaming around and not taking care of our jobs.”
Fonoimoana-Vaomu led the way for Kahuku with eight kills. Taosoga added six kills; Kamakeeaina had four kills, two blocks and two aces; and Taylor Magalei contributed 11 assists.
“We just kind of choked a little,” Fonoimoana-Vaomu said about the latter part of the second set. “But once we got our passes and connected with our setters, we just started to put it away one at a time.”
Saryiah Kahakai led the Govs with eight kills, Pasion-Nau added seven, and Jerica Vele had a match-high 18 assists.
“We knew coming into this game that it was going to be very, very hard,” Vele said. “We knew with their loss to Moanalua (in three sets Sept. 17), they were going to come back 10 times harder. Our energy was not there in the first set, but we started picking it up in the second set once we got to 18 or 19. Our (visiting) crowd had our back, but we still came up short. I still feel like we played really good today.”