Leilehua sweeps pair in OIA Red
by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
WAHIAWĀ — Midway through its league season, Leilehua is in two surprising places — ahead of the pack and playing on a somewhat familiar floor.
The Mules (5-0) swept Pearl City and Wai'anae yesterday during an O'ahu Interscholastic Association Red West boys volleyball tripleheader at Leilehua. Having beaten Mililani earlier in the season, the Mules have now beaten the stronger half of the West.
"It's surprising ... we just wanted to come out strong," said Leilehua junior Brock Paikai, who had seven kills against Pearl City and six against Wai'anae. "People never really looked at us as the team to beat, but we've come out strong so far."
The Mules returned two starters from last year's squad and have won with a mixed group of players — some of whom were reserves last year and some from other sports like football receiver Kamana Akagi and basketball player Paul Gorton.
The Mules have also been able to spend time in their own gym. Yesterday's matches marked the first time Leilehua hosted a match in two years. While its court was under renovations last year, Leilehua practiced in area gyms and played all its matches away.
"We try to tell as much people as we could to come out (to watch)," said Leilehua senior Joey Fetui.
Leilehua, Pearl City and Mililani played in the state tournament last year while Wai'anae was on the verge of an OIA title before the Seariders were disqualified for using an ineligible player.
Leilehua rallied to beat Pearl City, 27-26, 25-23, in yesterday's first match. The Mules trailed by seven early and 24-21 in Set 1 before rallying behind Charger errors.
In Set 2, Leilehua trailed 23-19 before two kills from Fetui and one by Paikai helped put the Mules at match point at 24-23. Setter Siope Osai pushed the ball over the net for a kill to end the match.
"We started slow against Pearl City, but that's what woke us up," said Fetui, who had 10 kills.
Bradley Rodrigues had nine kills and Richard Robb had seven for Pearl City.
Leilehua beat Wai'anae, 25-22, 25-17, in the final match, doing a better job of sealing its block than it did against Pearl City (1-1). Fetui was in on four of Leilehua's six blocks and had seven kills. Nicholas Silva-Leopoldo had seven kills for Wai'anae.
Rodrigues had seven kills and Robb had six to lead Pearl City past Wai'anae, 25-23, 25-21.
June Narag had six kills in both matches for the Seariders (2-2).
"It's always good to have losses, that way you know how it feels to lose," Wai'anae coach Wilhelm Wagner said. "You come back and learn from it, don't make the same mistakes twice."
'IOLANI WINS TOURNEY
Host 'Iolani swept Poway (Calif.), 25-14, 25-21, to win the Hawai'i Boys Volleyball Invitational yesterday. 'Iolani advanced by sweeping Crespi (Calif.) in the semifinals while Poway outlasted Kamehameha in three sets. Kamehameha beat Crespi, 29-27, 15-25, 15-10, in the third-place match. See For the Record for results.