Seabury Hall, Pāhoa reach DII final ILH foes in title match
By Kalani Takase
Advertiser Staff Writer
When the competition gets tougher, so does the Seabury Hall boys volleyball team.
The fifth-ranked Spartans, led by Rocky DeLyon's 12 kills, swept past No. 9 Moanalua last night in a semifinal match of the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association/New City Nissan Division II State Championships at Farrington's Richard S. Kitamura Gymnasium. The scores were 25-22, 25-18 and 25-16.
Seabury Hall, the tournament's No. 3 seed and champions of the Maui Interscholastic League, improved to 11-0 and will try to become the first team from the Valley Isle to win a state volleyball title. Seabury Hall plays No. 4 Pāhoa (15-4) in today's championship final at 5 p.m. at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium. The match will be aired live statewide on OC16.
"We were ready to go," said DeLyon, a sophomore middle hitter. "Sometimes we have trouble early in matches, but we came out focused and we all knew what this game meant to us."
DeLyon was nearly perfect against Nā Menehune, putting down 12 kills with no errors in 14 attempts (.857 hitting percentage).
"He was on fire tonight," Seabury Hall coach Caleb Palmer said of DeLyon. "It's also important to note that he was getting those opportunities because our setter was getting good passes from the back-row guys."
Moanalua coach Doug Hee agreed with Palmer's assesment.
"It was like madness to the ball," Hee said. "They were digging a lot of balls in the back, touching a lot of balls in the front — it was one of the most impressive displays of defense that I've seen this season."
Outside hitter Dylan Hamilton led Seabury Hall with 12 digs to go with his eight kills. Opposite Mark Walker recorded 10 digs and eight kills and setter Holden Awong added eight digs.
"We have good chemistry and communication between the back row and front row," DeLyon said. "We have a bunch of great attackers and Holden can put the ball wherever and he has the trust in us to put it down."
Errors hurt Moanalua from the outset. Nā Menehune fell behind 9-4 in the opening set, but closed the deficit to two points several times — including 24-22 — before Walker ended the set on a middle attack.
The Spartans opened Set 2 on a 5-0 run and never led by fewer than two points the rest of the set. A Seabury Hall error made it 18-16, but it scored the next four points, forcing Moanalua's second timeout of the set. A pair of errors gave Seabury Hall set point and Hamilton put away the 25th point.
It was more of the same in the third set. Seabury Hall used an early 4-0 run to pull ahead 7-2, and a 5-0 run later to make it 15-7. Moanalua pulled within 17-13, but the Spartans reeled off four straight points and held on for the sweep.
"(Thursday) we didn't have our best stuff out of the gates," said Palmer of the Spartans' four-set quarterfinal win over Kohala, in which his team dropped the first set. "If it was because they were nervous, we didn't seem to have that problem (last night). We were able to kind of flow right into the game."
Moanalua, the O'ahu Interscholastic Association champion, fell to 16-1.
NO. 4 PĀHOA 3, NO. 1 HBA 2
Isaiah Ekau had 30 kills and John Byrd had 21 as the Daggers upset the two-time state champion Eagles, 21-25, 31-29, 21-25, 25-23, 15-12, in a semifinal match at Kalani last night.
Michael Fisher had 31 kills, Chad Barretta had 22 and Nathan Le had 11 for Hawai'i Baptist (19-4).
Hawai'i Prep def. Kohala, 22-25, 30-28, 19-17
Waipahu def. Waimea, 25-17, 25-15