KEAAU — Kamehameha sophomore Maela Honma made a smashing debut for the volleyball team, after losing her freshman year to COVID-19.
Honma smoked 12 kills, from the left post and backrow, to lead the Warriors to a 25-18, 25-13, 25-12 sweep over Hilo in a BIIF Division I showdown on Tuesday night at Koaia Gym.
The 5-foot-10 outside hitter is the sister of 2020 Waiakea graduate Bethany Honma, who also played volleyball and basketball. The sisters are the nieces of former Honokaa basketball coach Daphne Honma.
Junior middle blocker Taina Kaauwai added nine kills, senior middle Brooklyn Cann had four kills while junior outside hitters Sarah Schubert and Cammie Masanda knocked down three kills each for the Warriors (2-0), who won the BIIF title in 2019, edging Waiakea.
Sophomore outside hitters Kaliko Kealoha and Julea Manarpac carried the offense with nine and five kill, respectively, while Kamalii Auwae, a sophomore middle, had four kills for the Vikings (1-1), who were swept in the BIIF semifinals by Kamehameha in 2019.
The Warriors had more firepower, 33 kills to 23 kills, and were far more efficient with just 18 unforced errors while the Vikings had 25 giveaway points. Kamehameha dominated at the service line with 10 aces and six service errors while Hilo had three aces and eight service errors.
“Honma did what we expected, Taina, too,” Kamehameha coach Guy Enriques said.
Unlike her sister Bethany, who prefers hoops, Maela’s passion is volleyball first and basketball second.
“I want to stay home,” she said. “My dream school is the University of Hawaii or I’d prefer to go to school on the West Coast.”
She has a few more years to figure out her college plans, but it’s obvious she’s really refined in volleyball. She had four aces and several spectacular digs, but better yet she’s a very solid serve-receive passer. Honma can hit all the shots, too, cross-court, line, tip and from the back row where her athleticism allows her to jump high and get a good swing on the ball.
The Warriors are loaded at the left-post attacker position with Honma, Schubert, the 2019 starter, and Masanda, the LH2, the left outside hitter No. 2.
But when the passes are clean and the set goes to the middle, that’s where Kamehameha holds an advantage over everyone else with Kaauwai, the 6-1 All-BIIF pick in 2019. It’s pretty clear that she’s next in line to play Division I ball like 2020 graduate Nani Spaar, who’s at Santa Clara.
Don’t worry, Viking diehards, there’s tons of potential with coach Kalei Kahananui’s team, starting with Kealoha, who’s 5-10 and a six-rotation player. She’s solid in serve-receive, is big on the block and rips the ball. Manarpac is just a sophomore, too. She’s 5-7 but crafty with her swings. Auwae is just a sophomore middle.
In Game 1, tied at 12-12, the Warriors ripped off a 7-0 run to grab a commanding 19-12 lead. Honma pounded six kills, Kaauwai added four while Cann had three kills.
Honma dropped four of Kamehameha’s seven aces in Game 2, which featured a pair of nice runs, 5-0 and 6-0, the latter for a 24-9 cushion. Honma again provided the firepower with five kills.
Kamehameha’s seven aces were a bit neutralized by six unforced errors. But Hilo had it worse with zero aces and six giveaway points.
In the third set, it was a balanced offense as Honma, Kaauwai, Schubert, and Kili Helm each had two kills. Senior outside hitter Anuhea Dulan slammed down match point.
The shortened regular season is mainly for seeding purposes for the four-team BIIF playoffs. The East side No. 1 seed will play West seed No. 1 seed Kealakehe, while the East. 2 and No. 3 seeds will battle.
It’s more likely than not that Kamehameha and Hilo will meet again. For history’s sake, the last time the Vikings won the BIIF championship was in 2018. Wanna guess who they beat? Yup, the Warriors, who were the BIIF runner-up.
In another match Tuesday, Konawaena (2-0) swept Honokaa (0-1) on the road, 25-9, 25-14, 25-4.