Moanalua Ends Mililani’s Unbeaten Run, Repeats as OIA Division I Champions
BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED APR 27, 2023
SALT LAKE — In a clash of unbeaten titans, Na Menehune of Moanalua took down the Mililani Trojans in straight sets, 25-11, 25-22, 25-21, to defend their title and win the program’s 12th overall league championship.
Warmups for OIA Division I boys’ volleyball championship game are underway!— Paul Brecht (@12brecht) April 27, 2023
12-0 Mililani vs 13-0 Moanalua.
Someone is going 🏠 w/ their 1st L of season tonight, the other going 🏠 as champs.
Catch the action @HIsportsradio
LISTEN: 95.1 FM | AM 760 | https://t.co/FZlk3L0s8O pic.twitter.com/YeOhlZKEag
Led by a trio of University of Hawai’i men’s volleyball commits, Na Menehune blitzed the Trojans right out of the gate, taking an early 8-4 advantage in the opening set.
Mililani fought back, keeping Moanalua from blowing the doors open in the first frame to make it 14-11, midway through.
With Rainbow Warrior head coach Charlie Wade in the house, his three commits decided to put on a show for their future coach as Moanalua strung together 11 straight points to close out a dominant first set, 25-11.
Looking for an answer, Mililani opened the second set with a similar intensity as the first with the teams trading blows en route to a 10-6 Trojans lead that forced a Moanalua timeout.
Mililani continued to hold ahead of Moanalua late into the set, leading 17-14 over Na Menehune as the three-time defending OIA DI champion looked frazzled by the Trojans.
“The big thing is that we go back to what we do best,” Moanalua head coach Alan Cabanting recalled telling his team. “We won a really lopsided set one and we wanted to do the same things, a little bit bigger… We started to hit the ball down instead of hitting over blockers, we started to chase balls that we didn’t need to because our defense in the back row was pretty good anyway.”
Behind the steady hand of Kai Rodriguez, one of the UH commits Na Menehune deploys in their lineup, Moanalua charged back to knot the second set at 18 before forcing a Mililani timeout by taking a 23-21 lead late into the set.
Timeout, Mililani.— Paul Brecht (@12brecht) April 27, 2023
Moanalua, led by their trio of UH MVB recruits, have come charging back here in the second set to take a 23-21 lead.
Mililani teetering on the brink.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, the momentum shift was too much to overcome. Moanalua took the night’s second set, 25-22, to take a commanding two sets-to-none lead over their West counterparts.
The 22 points registered in the night’s second set by Mililani were the most given up to another OIA program in a single set this season by Moanalua.
With their backs against the wall, Mililani opened the third set with a fervor to take an early three-point advantage over Moanalua, 10-7. The Trojans maintained the lead into the media timeout, 13-10, before Na Menehune turned on the jets once again to take a 15-14 lead and forcing a Mililani timeout.
Once Moanalua had grabbed the momentum inside of a raucous Jim Alegre Gymnasium, Na Menehune refused to let go.
The dynasty draped in blue, winners of the past three OIA DI title games, closed out Mililani in the final set, 25-21, for their 12th overall OIA boys’ volleyball title and fourth consecutive championship to complete an undefeated season as the team rolls into the state playoffs.
Manase Fetulimoeata registered double-digit kills for Mililani, leading the way for the Trojans with 10 to go along with 10 digs. Mililani recorded three aces on the evening against Na Menehune.
UH commit Kai Rodriguez was dominant all night for Moanalua, registering a match-high 14 kills and seven service aces as he helped will Na Menehune to another OIA crown. Fellow UH commit Justin “JT” Todd had 13 kills on the night and a pair of aces, while Jayden Bush rounded things out with six kills for Moanalua.
“[Since] we were trying to do too much, some funky things happened,” Cabanting said postgame. “That what good teams do. [Mililani head coach Gabby Maunupau] did a really good job really scouting us and forcing us to make more difficult plays and the boys really well to make those difficult plays happen.”
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