Expect a chess match in the OIA D1 championship
Kahuku's Keau Kamakeeaina and Mililani's Aysia Miller can both hit and set for their respective teams. Greg Yamamoto | SL
Wednesday's OIA Division I championship match at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium will feature two versatile squads.
Both Kahuku (12-1) and Mililani (12-0) mixed up their offenses in their respective semifinal wins at Moanalua Monday night.
In the Red Raiders' thrilling five-set win over Kapolei, Kahuku started off with a 6-2 offense with Keau Kamakeeaina and Taylor Magalei at the controls. The Red Raiders won the first set, 25-21, but had trouble with their serve reception and passing in the second set to give Kapolei a decisive 25-12 win.
Kahuku then went to a 5-1 offense in the third set with Kamakeeaina handling all of the setting duties the rest of the night. The move paid off as the Red Raiders outlasted the Hurricanes, 25-21, 12-25, 25-21, 16-25, 15-11 win in the two teams' fourth straight meeting in the OIA playoffs.
"I think it gave us a more solid defense, and it definitely put our setter to be a little more free," Kahuku first-year coach Michelle "Tuli" Tevaga said on the mid-match adjustment. "Even though we wanted to use her as an attacker, we just needed a more efficient offense, which is what (Keau) did, which was great."
Three different players finished with double-digit kills for the Red Raiders, led by Savannah Taosaoga's team-high 16 kills. Kamakeeaina also filled the stat sheet with 29 assists, 12 digs, five blocks, three kills and an ace.
Mililani's adjustment in its 25-23, 23-25, 25-23, 26-24 win over defending champion Moanalua was much more fluid. The Trojans started off the match in a 6-2 offense with Madi Goodman getting the first touches at setter, but quickly went to a 5-1 after three points with Aysia Miller setting while in the front row of the current rotation.
But it was a constant change throughout the night, sometimes during a middle of a Moanalua run just to regain the serve. The adjustments worked to the Trojans' benefit as they were able to rally from a 10-3 deficit in the third stanza to take a key 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set.
"It just opens everything up," Miller said on the Trojans' versatility. Miller finished with 38 assists, 10 digs, eight kills, three blocks and three aces in the win over Na Menehune.
"(Mililani) coach Val (Crabbe) says we have a lot of weapons so it kind of gives us more options. I was playing outside (hitter) before so with my background it kind of helps the team and stuff."
Falanika Danielson led the Trojans' offense with 19 kills and freshman Aria Miller followed with 12 more. Gabby Naniseni was also key with 10 kills, four blocks and three aces, two of which came on the final points of the match. Goodman was solid as well with 15 assists, 14 digs and two aces.