Castle boys win share of East title
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
One game down and trailing 9-4 in the second, Castle found its gumption to rally past Kalaheo, 8-15, 15-10, 15-13, to capture at least a share of the O'ahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division volleyball championship last night at Castle.
"This means a lot because Castle hasn't won the East in 10 or 11 years," Castle outside hitter Alika DeRego said.
It was the Knights' first division title since 1991.
Castle (9-0) remains the only undefeated team in the East with one match left in the regular season. The Knights can claim the title outright with a win tomorrow when they host McKinley. Even if the Knights lose, the best the Mustangs (8-1) can do is share the title, if they beat Kahuku tomorrow on the North Shore. Castle, by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker, already has clinched the East's top seed for next week's OIA tournament.
"They're very slow (starters)," Castle coach Pat Gomes-Woolsey said. "They have to get their rhythm. It just takes a while for them to get it."
DeRego registered a match-high 20 kills, eight in the rally-scoring third game. His eighth was the match winner.
"We try to even it out a little more," Gomes said. "It just somehow seems he's in that certain position that with the passes most of the time, (the sets) go in his direction."
The Knights actually held their own at the outset of the first game, taking an 8-7 lead. But Sam Wilhoite registered four kills as the Mustangs finished off the Knights with eight unanswered points. Wilhoite ended the game with an ace.
Despite seven service errors in the second game, the Mustangs still took a 9-4 lead, as the Knights struggled to set their attacks.
The Knights still trailed 10-6 when DeRego got three of the next four points to tie the score at 10. Castle pulled ahead 12-10. Then, after a sideout, DeRego served an ace and the Mustangs hurt themselves with consecutive bad hits for Castle's last two points to send the match into the third game.
The game opened with the teams exchanging points until Castle pulled off three in a row to take a 9-6 lead. After a timeout, Castle went to serve, but was called for serving out of rotation, for a sideout and point to Kalaheo to make it 9-7.
It appeared that was the opening Kalaheo needed to regroup, as it scored five in a row to take a 12-9 lead.
But that's when DeRego took control. A kill for a sideout pulled Castle to 12-10. Later, another DeRego kill tied the score at 12.
Kalaheo took a 13-12 lead on Shawn Ah Mow's kill. But Castle tied it when Kalaheo had an apparent miscommunication as it let one of DeRego's hits fall between two players to tie it at 13.
After Shaun Simao's ace, Kalaheo called time. DeRego finished the game with his 20th kill.
"We played decent in the last game, but the last few points, there were some mental errors," Kalaheo coach Sivan Leoni said.