By KEVIN JAKAHI
Tribune-Herald sports writer
PAHOA — Too bad coach Eden Scanlan couldn’t sprinkle Miracle-Gro on her young and inexperienced volleyball team.
Hawaii Prep took advantage of each deficit and raced past Pahoa 25-11, 25-19, 25-20 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II match on Tuesday night at the Daggers’ gym.
The Ka Makani (9-2) relied on a three-prong hitting attack of Gabbie Ewing (11 kills), Tiana Reynolds (eight kills) and freshman middle blocker McKenna Ventura, who finished with five kills.
HPA shrugged off a four-set loss to Ka’u (10-2) in Pahala on Saturday that put the Trojans in the driver’s seat in the race for the top seed at the BIIF tournament.
Maxine Block, who faced constant double teams, put down seven kills to lead the Daggers (4-7) while Christine Colobong and setter Ernell Oguma, who relied on dump shots, each had three kills.
Firepower was one problem for Pahoa; another glaring one was passing, especially in serve-receive.
HPA didn’t record an ace on every serve, but it seemed that way. The Ka Makani had 10 aces and just five service errors. The Daggers had five aces and nine service errors — a disparity that made for long scoring runs.
“Our team is a family and we’re all learning together and growing together,” Scanlan said. “I just want us to grow faster.
“I want our girls to learn how to close games, how to finish games. We play teams tight and at a certain point we don’t know how to close games because of experience or confidence.”
The first set was a good example.
Pahoa was in the ballpark, trailing 14-8. Then Reynolds stepped behind the line and dealt four aces, including three in a row, sparking a six-point run.
It was 20-8 and the Ka Makani were rolling. Only a hitting error and an ace by Colobong interrupted that stretch of precision pass, set, hit and score another point. Then the visitors got back to business and closed the set.
In the next set, the Daggers hung tough and held a 17-16 lead, after Block rammed a cross-court kills through a double block.
Ewing, a 5-foot-6 sophomore, served four straight points, including an ace, and suddenly HPA held a 21-17 lead, and motivation to sweep the match and get home early.
At set point, Ewing took a hard swing from the back row and the ball went down, setting the stage for the backups to get in the third game.