Rams Run Through Na Ali`i in Straight Sets, Win First OIA Division II Boys’ Volleyball Title


SALT LAKE — The Radford Rams (9-3) took down Aiea Na Ali`i (8-5) in their home gym to win the OIA Division II boys’ volleyball championship match on Wednesday night.

The Rams win marks the first time that Radford has won the OIA Division II title in boys’ volleyball and completed a long journey that saw them lose their first three matches of the season. 

“We definitely started out with the three strongest teams in the West” Radford head coach Melanie Toloumu said of the early-season slate. “My message to the kids after those three losses was ‘we can’t let them go in vain, we need to learn from it.’ They picked up, they kept working, they’re a great group of kids that want to learn and they love the game.” 

After a back-and-forth start to the opening set of the night, the Rams used a 9-3 run to take a commanding 13-6 lead into the media timeout. 

Radford continued increasing their lead, pushing the advantage to 10 points, 23-13, as Aiea used their final timeout to try and re-group. 

The Rams would have none of it, winning the evening’s opening set, 25-14.

Na Ali`i opened the second set of the night a bit better, holding an early 7-6 advantage over the Rams as the two teams traded short runs. 

Radford would take control of the set, winning six of the next nine points to rush ahead of Aiea, 13-10.

While Aiea would keep within striking distance, Radford closed the set out with a rush and took a commanding two sets-to-none advantage over their counterparts with a 25-20 win. Along with the set advantage, the hometown crowd began to get even louder. 

Radford wasted no time getting ahead early in the third set of the evening, racing out to an 8-3 lead and extending it to eight, 13-5, by the media timeout. 

With the program’s first league title within their grasp, Radford kept Aiea at arms’ length as Na Ali`i tried to chip into the Rams’ lead. 

Aiea cut the deficit down to six, but ultimately could not get closer as Radford took the final set, 25-18.

Radford won in straight sets to clinch their first OIA league championship in program history. The sets went 25-14, 25-20, 25-18 in favor of the Rams.

Aiea was led by Marcus Tauanuu’s seven kills and seven digs. Tauanuu also delivered Aiea’s lone service ace on the night.

Radford’s Keahi Kaneakua was the only player in the match to tally double-digit kills on either side, finishing an excellent all-around night with 11 kills, 13 assists, five digs and a team-leading three service aces.

“I’m excited for the players,” Radford’s Toloumu smiled postgame. “I want to go see them because I want to just hug them and say congratulations because I’m very proud of them. I’m tired but I feel like we’ve got more to go.”