Kalani rallies to earn OIA East boys volleyball win over Roosevelt in five sets

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED APRIL 10, 2024

HONOLULU — The Kalani boys volleyball team has a knack for going the distance.

The Falcons rallied past visiting Roosevelt in five sets Tuesday night in an OIA East match at Earl C. Homer Gymnasium. Set scores were 25-21, 22-25, 14-25, 27-26 and 15-13.

It was Kalani’s fourth match this year that went five sets as the Falcons improved to 6-3 and moved into fourth place in the league standings with two contests left in the regular season.

“I think we did really great,” said middle blocker Camren Cheung. “I really like that we kept up the energy and the defense was really good. They were a tough opponent but I’m really excited for the next two games that we have.”

The Falcons also had to deal with the loss to starting middle Kevin Wu to injury during pregame warmups. Before the match they huddled around him on the athletic trainer’s table and rolled off six straight points to start the contest.

“It was really tough because he was one of our starting middles too, but definitely our bench played that bigger role and they came out and helped us too,” Cheung said.

Roosevelt (7-2) were loaded at the pins with hitters Ford Lyons, Trace Nakaahiki, Jonathan Yadao and a trio of middles in Nathanael Vo, Kenneth Her and Yu-Tang Hsu, but the Falcons had more depth pieces that played a difference down the stretch.

Outside hitter Eric Chan and opposite Grayson Barnhill held it down in the early stages of the match while Cheung was a big boost off the bench for Kalani in the final two sets. Kazuma Ishikawa also redeemed himself in the later stages of the match after a handful of errors early on and sophomore outside hitter Corey Tin came on strong when he entered the match in the fourth set.

The Falcons also used two setters with Kyler Shigemi getting the controls in the back row before getting spelled by the taller Hayato Sawada when the rotation moved into the front row. Libero Sky Voong was also key in keeping rallies alive and defensive specialist Kyle Nagano came up big with a diving dig that staved off match point in the fourth set to keep Kalani alive.

“It’s a six-man game, it’s never a one-man game,” said Cheung. “I think we fought really strong together.”

Kalani will finish the regular season with a road game at Moanalua on Thursday and a home game against Kailua next Tuesday while the Rough Riders will travel to Kaimuki and Moanalua to close out league play.