No. 4 Moanalua outlasts stubborn No. 9 Kapolei in 5

Oct. 31—For four sets, Kapolei looked like a volleyball champion.

For four sets, Kapolei looked like a volleyball champion.

Moanalua then proved why the road to the OIA title could be draped in blue. Malu Garcia had 20 kills and two aces to lead No. 4-ranked Moanalua to a 24-26, 25-16, 21-25, 25-22, 15-7 semifinal win over No. 9 Kapolei on Monday night at sultry McKinley Student Council Gymnasium.

Moanalua (28-7 overall ) is unbeaten in OIA play and will take on Mililani in the Division I final on Wednesday at McKinley.

Garcia did not play the first set, and coach Alan Cabanting would not disclose the reason. However, Garcia made all the difference, and Moanalua played its best volleyball in the crucial fifth set.

"We just wanted to kind of see what we can do without Malu. Just to be in those situations. I think we're strong enough to be able to take care of things we need to take care of, " Cabanting said. "Fortunately, when we need Malu's senior leadership, it showed in the fifth set when she took over. She was rested for the fifth set and had the most energy."

Zaria Queen drilled 13 kills, Jerney Tang-Silva had eight kills, Iana Benevides tallied seven kills, and Haylee DePonte had 36 assists, three kills and two aces. Kaelyn Flores chipped in six kills and Jayde Taamu-Perifanos had 25 assists.

Malinah Purcell-Telefoni led Kapolei (20-19 overall ) with 20 kills and two aces in a scintillating performance from the left and middle, and from the back line. Leila Paraoan added 13 kills and three aces, while middle Tehani Faasuamanu finished with eight kills and an ace. Vaalele Ho-Ching-Avegalio tallied six kills and setter Anny Scott dished 45 assists, adding two aces and two blocks.

Kapolei trailed 9-6 in the opening game, then surged ahead 14-13 behind kills by Purcell-Telefoni and a block by Scott.

Moanalua then went on a 10-4 run, taking advantage of Kapolei's serve-receive struggles.

Down 23-18, the Hurricanes battled back to tie it on a kill by Purcell-Telefoni, and then took the lead on another kill by the 6-foot senior. Ho-Ching-Avegalio's kill from the left side capped the win for Kapolei.

Garcia entered the match to start Set 2, and everything changed. She launched from everywhere, including the back row, while supplying five kills on seven swings. Down 6-5, Na Menehune went on a 20-10 run to even the match.

In Set 3, Purcell-Telefoni drilled three kills from the left side as Kapolei rallied for a 13-12 lead. Kapolei's defensive adjustments took away Garcia's hitting angles, and the'Canes opened the lead to 20-17 after a kill by 5-8 middle Faasuamanu.

A service error and hitting error by Kapolei opened the door for Moanalua, and a kill by Tang-Silva tied it at 20. From there, however, Purcell-Telefoni took over. She had a kill and a roof to open Kapolei's lead to 24-22, and Matilyn Royal's ace off a diving Garcia gave the'Canes a 2-1 edge in the match.

Moanalua led Set 4 early, but three consecutive aces by Paraoan pushed the Hurricanes ahead 11-8. The lead changed hands three more times.

Faasuamanu's ace tied it at 22, but she was long on her next serve. A right-side kill by Garcia and a hitting error by Purcell-Telefoni ended the set and the match went to Set 5.

Moanalua played its best volleyball from that point on, opening a 6-3 lead after an ace by Garcia. After another ace, it was 8-3 and Na Menehune extended the margin to seven points en route to a surprisingly easy final set.