Saturday | December 16, 2017
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BIIF volleyball: Waiakea rides Kahauolopua sisters past HPA in sweep

When Kayla Kahauolopua wasn’t pounding volleyballs from the left side, her sister Cadelynn was slamming rockets from the opposite wing against Hawaii Prep, which had its block stretched thin against a balanced offense.

Waiakea played smooth ball and overwhelmed the visiting Ka Makani 25-13, 25-11, 25-15 in a BIIF match on Tuesday night at the Warriors Gym, where the crowd saw different versions of league runners-up.

Kayla Kahauolopua knocked down 10 kills and Cadelynn smashed nine to spark the Division I runner-up Warriors (2-0), who passed better, jumped higher, and smoked balls at a higher velocity.

Senior middle blockers Melina Devela and Jazzy Alston added five kills each, Bethany Honma, another opposite, had three kills, and Christine Hanohano also chipped in three kills, exhibiting the team’s lineup of hitting options.

Madi Lee drilled seven kills, Gemma Palleschi added four kills, and Bianca Shropshire had three kills to lead the three-time Division II runner-up Ka Makani (2-1), which resembled a typical Sharon Peterson team.

Despite returning all six starters, HPA struggled with its ball-handling, especially in serve-receive, surrendering 10 aces, and gave away too many free balls on overpasses.

Waiakea capitalized to the tune of 42 kills against 20 unforced errors. HPA had only 16 kills and 22 giveaway points — an obvious sign of struggle when errors outweigh points.

Basically, Lee is the only starter who’s a full-time volleyball player. She played on the Piopio Bears club team that competed in the AAU national championships in Florida, along with Hanohano and Angel Navor, Waiakea’s setter.

Down the stretch before the playoffs, Peterson’s team finds its groove and annually challenges for a BIIF title. The evidence of Peterson’s development track record is that her Ka Makani have qualified for the HHSAA tournament the last 11 years.

“After we came back from Maui, the chemistry is good. That’s what I noticed,” Waiakea coach Ashley Hanohano said. “We’ve got great defense from (Angel), Jojo (libero Jordyn Hayashi), Makena Hanale, and Cadelynn. They do a good job back there.”

When HPA had a clean swing, the defensive Fab Four made a saving dig and sent an accurate ball to Navor, who made sure her hitters had nice one-on-one matchups.

If Kayla Kahauolopua was teed up, she smashed balls crosscourt and also displayed her finesse a few times with her tip shots. In transition plays, with the ball going back and forth, her athleticism shined with her ability to reload and fire a fastball before the block could reset.

“Ultimately, we like to work the middles to free up the wings,” Hanohano said. “The sisters bring little aspects that make us a better team. They’re both strong girls and have powerful swings. Since coming back from Maui, Kayla is working better with our setter.”

Navor dropped six aces while Hayashi added two, Melody Ryan and Christine Hanohano each had one ace.

Lee and Sammie Spooner had one ace each for the senior-laden Ka Makani. Beside Lee, hitter Claire Henderson, Emma Saito, libero Julia Perry, setter Kiai Lindsey, middle Spooner, and Shropshire, another middle, are also seniors.

This is pretty much how the sweep went: Lee hit a shot, Hayashi got a dig, and Kayla Kahauolopua took a mighty swing for a point.

That happened on consecutive plays in the third set as the Warriors took a 23-14 cushion. Ryan recorded her ace for the next point, and a Ka Makani error closed the match.

For the rest of Waiakea’s kills, the names changed and sometimes the rallies were a little longer, but the result was mostly the same.


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