The Warriors are again one win away from winning that elusive state championship.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys volleyball team advanced to the championship game of the 2019 New City Nissan Boys Volleyball Championships-Division II state tournament.
“We’re excited. We’re happy, obviously,” said Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona in a phone interview Friday. “You feel good when good things happen. Taking care of this semifinal game and moving on to the championship game was the goal. So, we’re excited and happy for that.”
The No. 2 seeded Warriors defeated University Laboratory School of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in straight sets Friday in the semifinals at Saint Francis School in Honolulu — 25-20, 25-19, 25-18.
Kapaa’s Kiran Costa led the team with 19 kills. Rusdan-Rocket Ahuna had 35 assists. Pomai Rabago-Kaiwi had 12 digs.
University’s Isaiah Kalima-Izumi and Koby Tano each had six kills. Trent Goo Sun had 20 assists for the Jr. Bows.
“Three-set win. I would say that the game, we knew it was going to be a battle from the get-go,” Kaona said. “This was the team that we played last year in our quarterfinal matchup, and we ended up going five sets. We knew it was going to be a tough battle because they returned a lot of their roster.”
He added: “It was a battle for every point. It was up-and-up a lot of the game. There were little moments where we were able to separate ourselves, but I thought our boys played very well.”
Kapaa will play the winner of the semifinal match between No. 1 Saint Francis of the ILH and No. 4 Seabury Hall of the Maui Interscholastic League. The result of that match was not available by press time.
In the two previous state tournaments, Kapaa reached the championship match but fell short of clinching the state title. Kapaa lost to Saint Francis School, 3-2, in 2018. In 2017, the Warriors lost to Hawaii Baptist of the ILH, 3-0.
“We’re going to keep everything as normal. We’re not going to change our routine,” Kaona said. “We’re going to prepare the same way. We’re going to approach the game the same way. We’re going to keep everything as normal and as usual (as possible) to get them mentally ready for tomorrow.”
In the quarterfinals on Thursday, Kapaa defeated Hawaii Preparatory Academy of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation in straight sets at Kalani High School in Honolulu — 25-19, 25-21, 25-19.
Costa led the team in kills on Thursday with 20. Ahuna had 35 assists. Pomai Rabago-Kaiwi had eight digs.
Hawaii Prep’s Kala Thurston and Umikoa Kealoha each had six kills Thursday against Kapaa.
Info from Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.