Seabury Hall earns historic DII crown Punahou repeats as DI state champ
• Photo gallery: Boys Volleyball D-II State Championship
By Kalani Takase
Advertiser Staff Writer
Led by a strong showing from its senior leadership, the Seabury Hall boys' volleyball team made history last night, becoming the first school from Maui to win a state volleyball crown.
The Spartans, ranked fifth in The Advertiser's Top 10 poll, rallied then handled No. 10 Pāhoa 19-25, 25-16, 25-8, 25-19 in the title match of the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association/New City Nissan Division II Boys Volleyball State Championships.
A crowd of about 800 — including several hundred from Maui and the Big Island — at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium saw Seabury Hall finish the season with a perfect 12-0 record. Pāhoa's season ends at 16-5.
"Last year things didn't go our way, but we didn't lose anybody from that team and we shared a common goal, but to come here and do it, it's just unbelievable," said Seabury Hall's Dylan Hamilton, who finished with a team-high 17 kills and hit .387 for the match. Seabury Hall lost in the semifinals of last year's state tournament.
"We've had this same goal for a while and we have such strong chemistry this year — I think that was the difference," Hamilton said. "It's great that we were able to show the other islands that Maui has a good volleyball community, too."
Pāhoa's Isaiah Ekau, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, put down a match-high 20 kills and also committed 12 errors in 29 attempts (.163 hitting percentage). Ekau had 30 kills in Friday's semifinal upset over top-seed Hawai'i Baptist.
"We saw his stats from that match and we knew he would be taking a lot of swings," Hamilton said. "But, we have some tall guys, so it makes for a pretty big block and it was mostly well-formed when he had to go against it."
The Daggers struggled to keep Ekau, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter, in the front row for many rotations.
"They're a hugely momentum-oriented team and one of the main things we talked about was getting the serve back to stop that momentum," Spartans' head coach Caleb Palmer said.
However, Ekau and the Daggers controlled most of the opening set. After falling behind 6-5, Pāhoa scored seven of the next eight points, capped by Ekau's fifth kill of the set, to take an 11-7 lead. He put down nine kills in the set, which Pāhoa held on to win.
The Spartans fired out of the gates in set two, surging to an 8-1 lead. The Daggers cut the deficit to 11-9, but Seabury separated itself midway through the set and won it on a Pāhoa net violation on set point to even the match.
"I think part of the reason why we started slow was because of some nerves we might have had playing in a state title match," Palmer said. "But, I wasn't too concerned, because this team is smart and they confide in each other. They know how to get settled on their own."
Seabury Hall was in complete control of the third set. Pāhoa took an early 3-2 advantage, but the Spartans used a 12-2 run for a 14-5 lead, which they never relinquished. Josh Chapple and Mark Walker combined on three blocks in the final four Seabury Hall points of the set.
Pāhoa led early in set four at 4-3, but the Spartans got consecutive kills from Chapple and Rocky DeLyon and Chapple followed with a service ace before a four-contact call on the Daggers gave Seabury a 7-4 lead. Pāhoa battled back to within a point at 19-18, but back-to-back errors extended it to 21-18. Christopher Mendoza's dink shot again cut it to two points, but Seabury Hall scored the final four points to end it. Hamilton's cross-court kill on match point set the Spartan-faithful into a frenzy.
"This feels great. It's awesome for our kids for all the hard work they've put in," Palmer said. "We all knew that we had the talent and above that the chemistry, but it's very satisfying to be able to put it all together."
Connor Snow added 13 kills with two aces, Josh Sutherland had 10 digs and Holden Awong recorded 43 assists with six digs for Seabury Hall. Hamilton was joined by Snow, Sutherland and Awong on the All-Tournament Team.
Hawai'i Baptist def. Moanalua 25-23, 25-22
HBA: Chad Barretta 9
Moanalua: Shane Aquino 8
Hawai'i Prep def. Waipahu 25-18, 16-25, 15-9
HPA: Keanu Yamamoto 9
Waipahu: Tatupu Tatupu 14