Moanalua Ends Mililani’s Unbeaten Run, Repeats as OIA Division I Champions

Moanalua Ends Mililani’s Unbeaten Run, Repeats as OIA Division I Champions

Moanalua Ends Mililani’s Unbeaten Run, Repeats as OIA Division I Champions 


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.

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.

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.” 

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

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

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.” 

Nanakuli Comes from Behind, Takes Down Aiea for OIA Division II Softball Crown

Nanakuli Comes from Behind, Takes Down Aiea for OIA Division II Softball Crown

Nanakuli Comes from Behind, Takes Down Aiea for OIA Division II Softball Crown


HONOLULU — Unbeaten Nanakuli found themselves in an unusual spot taking on Aiea (12-2) in Saturday’s OIA Division II softball championship.

For just the second time all season long, the Nanakuli Golden Hawks (14-0) found themselves trailing in a softball game.

This first time was against this same Aiea Na Alii team back on March 23, a 7-6 comeback win for the Golden Hawks to hand Na Alii the lone loss on the team’s record. After Aiea jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Nanakuli experienced déjà vu.

The top two teams from the regular season in OIA Division II play, Nanakuli and Aiea entered the evening with a combined record of 23-1 and scoring 194 runs in their games since the March 23 matchup.

After trading zeroes on the scoreboard for the first two innings, it looked like Aiea would take control of the game with a five-run 3rd inning powered by grand slam from slugger Trinity Caporus-Santos, her 7th of the season. 

Despite facing the team’s biggest deficit of the season, Nanakuli remained calm and trusted in their experiences to get to this moment in the first place.

A one-out triple followed by an Aiea error began the Golden Hawks’ championship game ascent from peril, giving Nanakuli its first run with just one out.

Nanakuli pitcher Melody Baligad helped her cause with an RBI double, a deep drive off the top of the centerfield wall and somehow staying in the park to cut it to 5-2. 

An RBI single by Kalia Cordeiro brought two more runs across, capping the four-run bottom of the 3rd for the Golden Hawks and snatching the momentum right back from Aiea.

Nanakuli tied the game, 5-5, in the bottom of the 4th with a pair of two-out doubles before taking a two-run lead in the 5th on an Ariel Barozzo-Carrillo RBI single to center.

The Golden Hawks added a pair of insurance runs in the 6th, using an RBI triple followed by an RBI single to go up 9-5 on Aiea as Na Alii were down to their final three outs. 

There would be no more theatrics though, as the comeback had already happened against Aiea instead of for Na Alii.

Baligad closed out her nice championship game performance by sitting down Aiea in order in the top of the 7th to clinch the first league title for the Golden Hawks since 2016. 

Nanakuli’s left-handed pitcher earned the win after throwing seven innings, walking five batters, allowing five runs that all came in the third inning, striking out four Aiea batters in total.

Aiea pitcher Taja Souza was tagged with the loss after going 5.1 innings, giving up nine runs (six earned) on 11 hits and striking out four in Na Alii’s second loss of the season, both against Nanakuli and in total. 


Irimata Picks Up 100th K of Season, Throws One-Hitter as Campbell Beats Waianae for OIA Division I Title

Irimata Picks Up 100th K of Season, Throws One-Hitter as Campbell Beats Waianae for OIA Division I Title

Irimata Picks Up 100th K of Season, Throws One-Hitter as Campbell Beats Waianae for OIA Division I Title 


HONOLULU — In a battle of the top two softball teams in the state of Hawai’i, it was #1 Campbell slicing up #2 Waianae, 7-0, in the OIA Division I championship game. 

For the Sabers’ program, it is the eighth OIA league title and first since the 2019 campaign. Saturday’s championship also helped Campbell (13-0) remain unbeaten this season as they charge ahead into the state tournament.

Waianae (10-3) came into the night looking for the program’s first league title since the 1980’s to go along with revenge on a Campbell team that had been the only unit to best the Seariders this season. 

The only obstacle standing in the way of the Seariders?

Campbell star Taryn Irimata, arguably the state’s top pitcher and Division I college softball commit who had diced through every lineup she has faced this season. 

Waianae started sophomore Kehau Tambaoan-Kaeo started strong by sitting down the Sabers in order to open the game, matching what Irimata did the half-inning prior.

Irimata worked around a one-out single in the top of the 2nd inning without giving up any runs, the only hit that the senior would give up to the Seariders all night in her shutout gem. 

The Sabers’ offense woke up the bats in the bottom half of the frame, loading the bases and stringing together a walk, a pair of RBI singles and a bases-clearing double afterwards to take a 6-0 lead through two innings.

The Seariders made a quick switch in the pitching circle, going back to normal ace Jerzie Liana in the 3rd inning and putting Tambaoan-Kaeo in her familiar spot at shortstop. Liana made quick work of Campbell in the frame and next two innings as well, holding the Sabers’ lead at six runs.

Despite the valiant efforts from Waianae, Campbell’s Irimata was as locked in as she had been all season for the Sabers. The right-handed flamethrower sat down the Seariders in order in each inning after the 2nd inning, pitching aggressively thanks to the cushion her offense had provided early in the game.

Campbell picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th inning, using some timely two-out hitting to bring home the 7th run of the game for the Sabers with Waianae’s offense down to its final three outs. 

Irimata got the first two Seariders batters in the top of the 7th inning before walking Moani Ioane on a full-count pitch that just missed the zone.  

Just the second base runner of the night for Waianae, Ioane would not have an extended stay as Irimata struck out Jerrell Oriana-Mailo for the game’s final out (and the Campbell pitcher’s 100th strikeout of the season). 

Irimata went seven sparkling innings for the Sabers, striking out six, walking one and allowing one hit in her 12th win of the season.

Tambaoan-Kaeo was charged with the loss for Waianae, allowing six earned runs on five hits and two walks in two innings. Liana entered in relief for the sophomore and pitched admirably, going five innings, allowing five hits and one earned run.

The win for Campbell added another notch in the belt for the state’s top squad, who moved to 13-0 after winning the program’s eighth league title. The Sabers now look ahead to the state tournament, where a fourth matchup with Waianae is still possible. 


Bellator 295 Open Workouts

Bellator 295 Open Workouts

Bellator 295 Open Workouts


Ahead of the main event Saturday night at the Neal Blaisdell Center, Bellator MMA hosted an open workout at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. Working out for the crowd were local fighters Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Yancy Medeiros, and Sumiko Inaba along with Bellator 295 headliners Raufeon Stouts and Patchy Mix.

Former Bellator MMA Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane welcomed special guest workout partner Kailani Kim and danced her traditional open workout hula to “Noho Paipai”, sung by her brother-in-law Keoni Souza.

Get you tickets HERE for Bellator 295 happening Saturday, April 22, 2023 at the Neal Blaisdell Arena.

Gallery: UH-Hilo vs HPU Softball

Gallery: UH-Hilo vs HPU Softball

Photo Gallery: UH-Hilo vs HPU Softball


In case you missed it

The Vulcans squeaked by the Sharks with a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the HPU Senior Day doubleheader.

The Sharks were able to cap off their Senior Day with a 3-1 win over the Vulcans. Tita Saunders, Hailey Yoshida, and Savanna Salyer-Kovacs plated the three runs for HPU. Yoshida gave up no earned runs in her start and improved to 8-5.