Farrington rallies to stun No. 5 Kahuku in three sets

Lauolive Tonga [PC: ScoringLive]

KALIHI — Tuesday night was a dream come true for Farrington senior Violet Williams.

Williams and the Governors ended Kahuku's regular season winning streak at 14 matches with a three-set win over the fifth-ranked Red Raiders in an Oahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division contest at Richard Kitamura Gymnasium.

Farrington (2-1) dropped the first set before storming back for a 16-25, 25-19, 15-9 win to give Kahuku, the reigning OIA D1 champ, its first regular season loss since Sept. 28, 2015. It was also the Govs' first win over the Red Raiders (2-1) since 2012.

"I feel so proud, I wanted to beat them since my freshman year being on varsity," Williams said of the Red Raiders. "I just felt like for my senior year, beating them was a dream come true."

The match was competitive from the get-go, as the score was tied at 11-all at one point in the first set, but the Red Raiders were able to pull away for a decisive win in the opening period. However, the Govs were able to shake off the loss and storm back to take the next two sets for the win.

"I'm just really happy and proud of my girls that they stuck it out after Game 1," said Farrington coach Kelly Ong, who is in her first year leading the Govs. Ong, who played collegiately for the University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine, previously coached at Sacred Hearts for four years.

"This game I was amazed. I'm so glad that we fought for every point and the younger ones had a lot of more confidence in themselves. I think it's because their senior leaders helped them out a little bit, and that gave them some confidence."

Williams was at the forefront of Farrington's comeback win as the Govs utilized her versatility as an outside hitter after Game 1. The position change produced great results as Williams was able to tally nine of her match-high 10 kills after the opening set. She also was solid in other areas, recording six digs, two blocks, two aces and an assist.

ShaLi Niu [PC: ScoringLive]

Ong said that having Williams on the floor is a positive influence for the rest of the team.

"Her leadership has been amazing since day one, since I've been here. She's just a positive kid that gives it her all," Ong said of Williams. "Her energy alone sparks everybody else's energy and her confidence in her teammates helps bring their game to another level."

Saryiah Kahakai added six kills with 12 digs, Khylene Pasion-Nau had three more kills, Jerica Vele posted 14 assists and Kohala Solomon had a hand in four blocks to round out the key contributors for the Govs.

On the other side of the court, Kahuku coach Mounia Tachibana took the loss in stride and viewed the match as a learning opportunity for a young team that lost six seniors to graduation a year ago.

"I'm not really stressing over the loss," said Tachibana. "I'm really excited about our team to be honest, even with the loss. It's going to be fun to see what these girls can do when they do put it together."

Tachibana also gave credit to Farrington's defense after the match.

"Farrington came with defense, and defense does win championships," she said.

Lauolive Tonga had six kills and ShaLi Niu added five kills, six digs, two blocks, two aces and an assist to lead the Red Raiders in the loss.

Kahuku will look to get back on track when they travel to Kailua later this week while Farrington will try for its third straight win when they host Anuenue. Both games are slated for Thursday night.

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