HBA repeats as DII champ
• Photo gallery: HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championship
By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer
The Hawai'i Baptist boys volleyball team concluded a killer season with a performance that was "near perfection."
These Eagles truly were birds of prey this season and it was on display yesterday against Hilo in the final of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball Division II State Championships at McKinley.
Ryan Leung had 17 kills and two errors in 24 attempts, and Hawai'i Baptist repeated as DII state champion with a 25-16, 25-18, 25-13 victory in a match that lasted 64 minutes.
Hawai'i Baptist, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion and No. 1 seed, hit .507 as a team (43 kills, 7 errors, 71 attempts).
"Our boys executed perfectly," said Hawai'i Baptist coach Teoni Obrey. "This is the first time all season we executed the game plan to near perfection. We served to where we wanted to, we were aggressive. There were certain matchups we wanted to take advantage of and we were able to take advantage of it."
Leung, a 6-foot-3 junior opposite, went over the Vikings block on many attempts. He also had three aces and two blocks.
"Coach taught me how to deep stroke, which is contacting the ball high and hitting the ball deep," Leung said. "That's been working for me."
Hawai'i Baptist finished the season 19-1, including victories over ILH DI teams. Its only loss was to state Division I champion Punahou.
"It really helps when you have a supportive administration and you have supportive parents, and the kids buy into it 100 percent," Obrey said. "Once they did that, this is all gravy right now."
Branden Kaneshiro added eight kills and Kyle Barretta had seven for Hawai'i Baptist.
"We have a really great opposite, Ryan Leung," said Barretta, a 6-7 senior middle blocker. "With him on your team, you're able to open up so much more, you have to worry about so much more. It opens me up in the middle and people on the outside and that's how we're able to succeed."
The Eagles passed well and senior setter Matthew Lui finished with 33 assists.
"Our offense is really good thanks to our setter Matthew Lui," Barretta said. "Without him, it would be something else."
Hilo, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and No. 2 seed, played two five-setters prior to the final, but Vikings coach Hoku Harvest said it was "not a factor."
But it did give Obrey a lot to look at in preparation for yesterday's match.
"I got tape when Hilo played Pahoa and Hilo played Seabury Hall," Obrey said. "We broke the tape down and we made sure we had a scouting report."
Three Hilo starters missed the tournament because of "family problems," according to Harvest.
"I'm proud of the boys that actually came on this trip," Harvest said. "They came as one family, and this being my first year coaching them, they opened up their arms and let me into their lives."
In Set 1, Hawai'i Baptist went on an 11-4 run to take a 13-7 advantage. Barretta had three kills and two blocks during the surge. He finished the match with five blocks.
"I've played club volleyball and I have the greatest coaches in the world teaching me how to block," Barretta said. "Showing me where the ball is going to go, how I can dictate and be ready and alert."
The Eagles' largest lead of the set came at 22-13 after a Hilo hitting error.
It looked like Hawai'i Baptist would run away with Set 2 after taking a 14-4 advantage.
But Hilo (15-2) got within 17-15 after kills by Andrew Welsh and Noah Yomes, and consecutive aces by Welsh.
From there the Eagles regrouped and won the set going away.
In Set 3, Hawai'i Baptist got out to a 4-0 start behind the serving of Lui, who started things with an ace.
Welsh finished with nine kills for Hilo.