Menes turn back Kahuku in five-set slugfest
SALT LAKE — Tayli Ikenaga showed why she was selected as the 2018 All-OIA East Girls Volleyball Player of the Year Thursday night. The Moanalua junior put down a match-high 28 kills to help the sixth-ranked Na Menehune rally past No. 5 Kahuku, 26-27, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11, in a showdown between two perennial contenders. Ikenaga was clutch down the stretch for Na Menehune (5-0) with four of their final five points, which included match point from the middle off a solo block. She also shook off an apparent ankle injury in the third set and pounded 10 of her 28 kills in the fourth set to force a fifth set. "Tayli is a fighter, and I knew she was going to play through the pain even though she wasn't even going to tell me there was pain there," said Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting. "Kudos to Tayli, she's awesome." Ikenaga was spectacular against Kahuku (3-1), but she wasn't the only one making plays for Na Menehune as seven other players registered kills for Moanalua. Na Menehune also was strong in the front lines defensively with 13 total blocks. "We've been practicing for weeks for this game, mentally and physically. As long as we sticked to the game plan, we were going to do good," said Ikenaga, who added seven digs and a solo block. "Everybody showed up and we're very proud of them."
Alexis Tradie Debina-Bautista had a breakout game for Moanalua with an all-around performance of 12 kills, nine digs, four aces, three blocks and an assist. "She stepped up," Ikenaga said of Debina-Bautista. "She was there blocking, everything, all-around. I'm very proud of her." Madison Williams led the block with nine total blocks (one solo) and five kills. Amariis Garcia and opposite Amerika Jones each had three block assists and added five and four kills respectively. Setters Allexis Iramina and Aaliyah Allagonez combined for 47 assists and three well-timed dumps. Cabanting was also high on libero Sonny Rodrigues, who had a match-high 15 digs with four assists and three aces. "That's a big thing about this group, everybody is expected to make a play," said Cabanting. "I'm really confident with whoever I put in there." Keau Kamakeeaina led the Red Raiders in the loss with 62 assists and 10 digs. Kalamela Liua was the top attacker for Kahuku with 22 kills, while Savannah Taosoga and Makayla Fonoimoana-Vaomu followed with 14 and 12 respectively. Kahuku put down more kills than Moanalua as a team, but had 33 hitting errors to Na Menehune's 20. It was a back-and-forth battle throughout the final set, until a Ikenaga kill gave Moanalua a 11-9 lead to force a Kahuku timeout. However, Ikenaga's attack appeared to have been too strong, but the officials ruled that it nipped the Kahuku block. After the timeout, a hitting error extended Moanalua's lead to 12-9 and Ikenaga was able to put down the necessary points to give Na Menehune the win. "Although there were controversial calls made throughout the game, I do believe it was a hard-fought game by both teams," said Kahuku coach Tuli Tevaga. "I am proud of my team and all we can do is learn from this loss and prepare for the rest of the season." The Red Raiders will look to get back on track against Roosevelt (3-2) next Tuesday while Moanalua hosts Castle (1-4) Saturday at 10 a.m.