Dramatic win over Mililani keeps Moanalua dynasty going

May 3—Select an option below to continue reading this premium story.

Already a Honolulu Star-Advertiser subscriber? to continue reading.

Get unlimited access

From as low as $12.95 /mo.

Back in preseason, there was doubt outside of the Moanalua circle.

So many starting spots to fill. So much talent to replace. Mililani and Moanalua met in a scrimmage.

"We got slaughtered," Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting recalled.

Time, however, was on their side. Na Menehune captured their 10th OIA boys volleyball title under Cabanting with an epic 25-19, 25-15, 27-29, 23-25, 15-10 victory over the Trojans at Radford's James Alegre Gymnasium.

Veteran setter Malu Wilcox led Moanalua (13-0) with 56 assists and 11 digs. He and libero Kaden Seto (10 digs) were the most seasoned returnees for a squad trying to find itself.

"When we played them in preseason, we knew we were going to come back from that. Tonight was our best match," Wilcox said. "It took a lot of hard work. We knew to win the title again, we had to work hard. Mililani is a great team. They have all the key components. They just made a few too many errors tonight."

Moanalua had match point in Set 3 but could not put the relentless Trojans away. Mililani rallied, energized by a loud and faithful following.

Mililani led the final set 7-6, but Moanalua took a 9-8 lead on a hitting error and closed the match with a 9-2 run.

Cabanting burned timeouts with Mililani within 12-9 and 12-10.

"We wanted to ensure we knew what we would do. When things are going fast and you forget, Mililani is always going to the pin. Why is our block constantly late? So we needed to shut that down like we did in the first and second sets," Cabanting said. "We figured things out."

Ezekiel Sablan came through with a kill and a roof to bring Moanalua back to match point, and Trevor Kwak delivered the final kill.

Sablan finished with 20 kills and 3.5 blocks. Jaycen Bush added 14 kills and eight digs, while D'Angelo Ross had 13 kills and 2.5 blocks in the middle. Kwak tallied nine kills and Luke Jones added seven.

Tyler Duranceau had a team-high 20 kills and 14 digs for Mililani (12-1). Aris Mateo tallied 18 kills, while Kapena Kanuch and Evan Lehano-Foki had seven kills apiece. Tye Nakamura finished with 29 assists and Carson Nakamura had 20.

The OIA crown is the 13th in school history for Moanalua.

"Especially this group, it's going to be one of the tougher seasons we'll have with players in different positions than they're used to. Digging balls, doing things they normally didn't do," said Cabanting, a teacher at the school. "They figured things out. Tradition does help. The boys were there at last year's championship match."

Mililani has four league titles but has not won the OIA since 2017.