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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Michael Lasquero | ScoringLiveOctober 17, 2019, 12:46am
Wed, Oct 16, 2019 @ Moanalua [ 7:00 pm ]
SALT LAKE — They didn't have home-court advantage.
They were shellshocked in the opening set.
But by the end of Wednesday night, the Mililani Trojans made sure they kept their hardware.
No. 4 Mililani outlasted No. 5 Moanalua in a five-set classic to repeat as the OIA Division I champion with a 15-25, 28-26, 25-14, 21-25, 15-10 victory in Na Menehune's gymnasium.
Falanika Danielson put down a season-high 25 kills and Aysia Miller had a triple-double of 37 assists, 14 digs and 11 kills to power the Trojans (13-0) to their fourth overall league title, all of which have come in the last decade.
Danielson, the reigning All-OIA West Player of the Year, was ecstatic after the match and appreciative of the Mililani fans that helped support the Trojans on their opponents' home floor.
"It means a lot to us, especially knowing that we didn't have home-court advantage," said Danielson, who also had nine digs and a block assist in the fifth set. "We knew they would have a good crowd. We wanted to bring our (football) boys, our cheerleaders. We had great support from our school. That's all we can really ask for."
But the standing-room atmosphere got to the Trojans to start the match. With a fans from both schools competing against each other in volume even before first serve, Mililani struggled out of the gate, tallying just five kills against nine hitting errors in the opening set. The Trojans also had four service errors in the first stanza.
"I think what got to us was the loud cheering from both teams," said Danielson. "I think what just got us going was just working together and finding our rhythm again."
After dropping the first set by 10 points, the Trojans made a change in libero with Mariah Fukumoto stepping in the role. They also shifted to a 6-2 offense and had Nicole Kimura setting, which allowed Miller to play as an opposite in the front row.
The adjustments gave Mililani the early advantage in the second set, but Moanalua (13-1) battled back to force extra points. With fans from both teams running across the sidelines with flags bearing their respective team's logo late in the frame, it ultimately was the Trojans who won the second set to tie the match.
Mililani then took the third set before Moanalua tied the match to force a fifth set.
After starting slow to open the match, the Trojans made sure they finished strong and scored the first five points of the fifth set, which turned out to be the final point-differential.
"We just thought to ourselves that we need to finish it right now and right here because we knew what Moanalua has," said Miller. "They were scrappy and we knew they were going to battle as well. That start (in the fifth set) made our confidence higher and boosted our self-esteem."
Alexis DeBina-Bautista had a match-high 27 kills with 18 digs to lead Moanalua in its first loss of the season.
Tayli Ikenga followed with 15 kills and 18 digs and Amariis Garcia added 10 kills with eight blocks to round out the top hitters for Na Menehune.
Moanalua will host Waianae next Monday in the opening round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball Championships while Mililani will await the winner between Le Jardin and Kamehameha-Maui on Thursday.
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