Spartans fall short against Chargers for D-II volleyball championship | News, Sports, Jobs -

Spartans fall short against Chargers for D-II volleyball championship | News, Sports, Jobs

The Maui News

Seeking its school’s second-ever boys volleyball state title, Seabury Hall fell short Saturday night against Pearl City, 31-29, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22 at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu.

Twin brothers Thomas and Tyler Russell led the way for the Maui Interscholastic League champion Spartans (9-3), notching 22 and 20 kills, respectively, on the way to earning all-tournament team honors.

Tyler Russell also had a team-high 26 digs in the close contest, while Thomas Russell had 18 digs. Luca Connor dished out 59 assists with seven digs, and Blaze Potratz had seven kills and seven digs for third-seeded Seabury.

“I think the boys played great. I would congratulate them on a well-played, well-executed championship match that unfortunately didn’t go our way,” coach Brian Connor said via phone Sunday morning. “I thought that might have been the best match they played all season — they dug more than they ever did, they passed great, made great setter decisions.”

Tied at 15 in the first set, the Spartans appeared to take control by going on a 7-1 run that included aces by Luca Connor and Thomas Russell. A Pearl City service error eventually gave Seabury set point at 24-19, but the Chargers rallied to tie it 24-24 before Tyler Russell finally ended the Spartans’ scoring drought with a kill. Seabury was unable to convert on five more set points, the final one ending with a kill by Pearl City’s Tiandrew Taimanao. Another kill by Taimanao gave the Chargers their first set point at 30-29, and a Spartans attack error ended the marathon set.

“It’s hard to have players keep their composure and remember that it’s the same game at 1-1 as it is at 29-29. It takes the same skill to pass, set, hit and play defense and sometimes emotions can run high, but we did not have that,” Brian Connor said. “We were swinging aggressively and passing well through all that and you know, sometimes things just don’t fall your way and you don’t want to go back to one specific point and say ‘if only this happened.’ “

The Spartans pulled away late to take Set 2, outscoring the error-prone Chargers 5-2 to end the frame and tie up the match. All five points scored by Seabury came via a mix of service, hitting and setting errors.

The third set was again close midway through, with the Spartans pulling within 16-15 on a kill from Anthony Martin. The Chargers scored three straight points to create some separation, but Seabury again got close at 22-21 on a double block by Martin and Luca Connor. From there, Pearl City closed out the set on 3-0 run, capped by back-to-back Seabury attack errors.

The Spartans were in position to force a winner-take-all fifth set after taking a 19-15 lead in the fourth. They still led 21-17 after Tyler Russell’s solo block on Christian Ronquilio, but the Chargers reeled off seven straight points to get to championship point, 24-21. Tyler Russell finally ended Pearl City’s run with a kill, but then followed with a service error to end it.

Fati Seei-Tofi had 16 kills and 14 digs, and Keahi Kaneakua had 15 kills to lead Pearl City (14-2), the fourth-seeded Oahu Interscholastic Association champion which got to the title match by knocking off No. 1 Saint Louis in the semifinals.

“They battled and left it all out on the table,” Brian Connor said. “When you have a loss that happens like that, there’s not much you can do. Pearl City played amazingly as well. We knew the finals was going to be a battle, that it could go either way. Pearl City is a very skilled team.”

The Spartans got their shot at their first title since 2010 when they rallied after losing the first two sets to beat Nanakuli in Friday’s semifinals.

“They showed a lot of grit and perseverance, especially in the semifinal match,” Connor said. “To go down 0-2 and to have confidence in each other on the court, that’s a hard road to go down knowing you have to win the next three sets. They really came together and executed. They really showed their maturity.”

Connor said he saw a lot of physical, emotional and fundamental growth in his team, which he hopes builds momentum for the program moving forward.

“The 18 players that were part of the team in the championship match are unrecognizable from day one of practice,” he said. “There is such amazing growth in all of the players.”


New City Nissan/HHSAA State Championships

Saturday’s Results

At Blaisdell Arena


Fifth place–Kamehameha Hawaii def. Kamehameha Maui 25-23, 25-16

Third place–Mililani def. Kamehameha Kapalama 25-20, 25-23

Championship–Punahou def. Moanalua 25-18, 25-22, 25-13


Fifth place–Konawaena def. Le Jardin 24-26, 25-20, 15-12

Third place–Saint Louis def. Nanakuli 25-20, 16-25, 19-17

Championship–Pearl City def. Seabury Hall 31-29, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22

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