The HBA boys varsity volleyball team. Photo by Deren Oshiro.
The HBA boys varsity volleyball team is once again a state champion. The team defeated a tough, senior laden Kapaa team 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 before about 1,400 fans at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center on May 6 to win the 2017 New City Nissan/HHSAA Division 2 State Volleyball Championship. The title is the Eagles' seventh straight and ninth in the past ten years.
The Eagles (22-0) entered the state tournament as the top seed and advanced to the championship final by defeating OIA runner-up Castle High School 25-14, 25-13, 25-13 on May 4 and MIL Champion Molokai High School 25-6, 25-16, 25-19 in the semi-finals on May 5. Both of those matches were played at Dan Liu Gymnasium as HBA hosted its first ever HHSAA state championship event.
Although the championship match ultimately ended in a three set sweep, it was anything but easy. HBA jumped out to a 16-5 lead in the first set as Kapaa showed some nerves. However, the Warriors settled down and made a run, closing to 18-14. Junior libero Dru Pang then served up two aces to help the Eagles separate and close out the set.
The second set featured twelve ties and a narrow 23-22 HBA lead before kills by senior outside hitter Kellen Takatsuka and junior outside hitter Michael Johnson – sandwiched around a kill by Kapaa's Saxsen Shiira – ended it in the Eagles' favor, 25-23.
The third and final set was more of the same as the score was tied seven times, the last of which occurred at 20-20. From there, sophomore middle Max Wiemken got a kill – his sixth against no errors for the night – and Takatsuka served out the final four points. Kapaa senior hitter Carson Schmick's error on match point sealed HBA's victory.
Johnson, who paced the Eagles with 13 kills and 15 digs, was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Joining him on the all-tournament team was junior setter Davin Rausch (30 assists), Takatsuka (9 kills, 6 digs), and Pang (12 digs, 3 aces).
The team was led by head coach Teoni Obrey and assisted by Danford Chang, Serafin David, Jr., Luke Owens, Jared Gandia '04, and Myles Shioji '94.