Warriors advance at states

Kapaa High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Farrington of the Oahu Interscholastic Federation, 3-1, in the opening round of the New City Nissan Boys Volleyball State Championships – Division II state tournament.

The Warrior boys, the No. 4 seed in the Division II tournament, defeated the Governors at Farrington High School Wednesday evening.

“It was a very close game — up and up, point-for-point during the entire match,” said Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona in a phone interview Thursday.

“It was a very loud and exciting atmosphere, being that we were in the home gym of the team that we’re playing,” Kaona added. “The boys had a hard time hearing instruction because it was so loud in there, but we were able to pull out the win.”

Kapaa won the match’s first two sets, 25-20 and 25-18. Farrington then edged Kapaa in the third set to extend the match, 26-24.

“I think we definitely let off. Then when we let off, it was a matter of one or two plays that Farrington got and it just gave them all the momentum,” Kaona said of the third set. “There was an obvious shift that you saw, and you felt an energy on our side that shifted to the other side.”

The Warriors then regrouped to win the fourth set, 25-22, to move on to the tournament’s second round. Kapaa’s Saxsen Shiira had the set-winning kill to cap off the match.

“It was a big relief for the team. We’ve been preparing for this, for states, for so long,” said Warriors junior Carson Schmick over the phone. “But we still got two more (matches) to go.”

Kaona said: “Obviously, spirits were high and the boys are happy. We had a lot of supporters in the gym. We had a lot of parents, and a lot of Kapaa alumni that now live on Oahu came out and supported us. We had the same amount of fans that the home team did in the gym. It was a very loud and exciting atmosphere on both sides.”

Schmick led the team’s offense with 12 kills, an ace and a block and also had 19 digs. Shiira had nine kills and two blocks for Kapaa. Max Nice had 10 kills and three aces. Jayson Hawthorne had 30 assists, four kills and two aces. Pomai Rabago-Kaiwi had 17 digs.

Christian Latu had 10 kills and three blocks for Farrington. Chris Afe-Alavanu had nine kills and three blocks. John Salacup had 20 assists and 15 digs.

Kapaa played No. 1 seed Hawaii Baptist Academy of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in the second round Thursday evening at Farrington High School. Results were not available at press time.

“They played the game right before us. So, we went early to watch that game,” Kaona said of HBA prior to Thursday’s match. “They are the No. 1 ranked team for a reason. They’re very well-coached, very disciplined and very good skills-wise. So, we’ll try to not get too frazzled or too shocked — to feel like, ‘Wow, they’re really good.’ Just try and to settle down and take care of our own side.”

Schmick added: “They got a lot of experienced players on their team. They got club volleyball — a lot of club players over here. We went into that gym and realized this is going to be a challenging team. If we really want to get this W, we have to play even more as a team. Last night, I’m going to be honest — we didn’t have the best game. If we let that happen again, we won’t be having fun at the hotel room. So, we got to play our game. They’re going to make shots, but it’s more about how we bounce back and how we get right back at them.”

Statistics from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.

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