PUKALANI — The match lasted just a little more than an hour, but even in defeat it was a meaningful step for the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team.
The Warriors lost 25-17, 25-10, 25-10 to Mililani in Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym in a twice-delayed first-round match in the New City Nissan/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I tournament on Wednesday.
The Warriors finished 7-8 on the season and said goodbye to eight seniors, but making it to the state tournament was a significant step for a proud program that has a new coaching staff and, like the rest of the state, missed the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns.
Ten varsity players are in line to return next season for coach Evan Jenkins.
“We have a big group of seniors and we also have eight juniors also, and a sophomore and a freshman, so we have a pretty good returning crew next year,” Jenkins said. “We’re hoping to meet up next week for the seniors and have a little bit different Pau Hana for the season.”
Jenkins was happy to see his team emerge from the logjam for the Maui Interscholastic League’s second state berth behind 14-0 MIL champion Baldwin.
“I think it was a huge deal, some of our players, it was hard, some of them weren’t club players, so just bringing them all together — a lot of them play for different clubs, so to bring them together to gel like this, we’ve come a long way,” Jenkins said.
Jaqui Brandon had four kills, two digs and two aces for the Warriors. Kaena Cervantes had seven digs, Hi’ilei Fuqua had four kills and four blocks, Leilani Gates had three digs and two kills, Hayley Pruse and Leimana Purdy each had four digs, Makamae Kaili-Kramer had two kills and four digs, and Kayla Frias added five digs.
It was never enough to hang close with Mililani, the third-place team from the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
“They had some great hitters, all around pretty consistent, we would have a good rally and fight with them here and there, but it was just hard to get our momentum up on our side tonight,” Jenkins said. “Just for the younger players on our team, it’s great experience, seeing an OIA team come over and what they’ve got, knowing that there’s a bigger pool of players and teams over there that they have to work against.
“So, I told them, like, ‘Hey, play club, get all the experience that you can next year so we can come back ready to start.’ “
Mililani (11-3), ranked No. 10 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser statewide poll, gets No. 1 Punahou in the quarterfinals today. Mililani did not keep statistics for the match.
“We told them that we came here to take care of business and that’s what we needed to do,” Mililani coach Val Crabbe said. “We have to stay focused.”
Usually the state D-I first-round matches are Monday, giving the winners two days to prepare to face seeded league championship teams. With the recent inclement weather forcing the match to be delayed until Wednesday, the Trojans will have to face mighty Punahou without much preparation.
“Honestly we’re just happy to be here, we’re happy to be in the position that we’re at and we’re happy that we get to play Punahou,” Crabbe said.
* Robert Collias is at [email protected]
Girls volleyball State Championships
Mililani def. Kamehameha Maui 25-17, 25-10, 25-10
No. 4 Kamehameha Hawaii vs. Moanalua, 5 p.m.
No. 1 Punahou vs. Mililani, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Kahuku vs. Hilo, 5 p.m.
No. 3 Baldwin vs. Kamehameha Kapalama, 7 p.m.
Radford def. Molokai 26-24, 25-20, 25-22
Damien def. Leilehua 25-12, 25-14, 25-19
Maryknoll def. Konawaena 25-18, 25-23, 25-16
Le Jardin def. Kalaheo 25-12, 25-14, 25-13
Molokai vs. Leilehua, 3:30 p.m.
Konawaena vs. Kalaheo, 3:30 p.m.
No. 4 Hawaii Prep vs. Damien, 5 p.m.
No. 1 University vs. Radford, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Waimea vs. Maryknoll, 5 p.m.
No. 3 Seabury Hall vs. Le Jardin, 7 p.m.