Over the past two weeks Molokai has fallen off its pedestal at the top of Maui Interscholastic League Division II girls volleyball.
Last week, the lady Farmers fell to Seabury Hall in Olinda in five close sets. It was the team’s first regular season MIL loss since 2007.
This past weekend, Hana came to Molokai and handed the team two more match losses at The Barn. Molokai pushed Hana to four sets on Friday, losing 26-24, 22-25, 25-11 and 25-16. The Dragons swept Molokai in straight sets on Saturday, 25-21, 25-19 and 25-15.
Molokai Coach Matt Helm knew his young team would struggle after losing five starters from the defending state-champion squad. He recently identified Hana as one of the top MIL teams.
Hana was led by Pakalana Helekahi, who had 16 kills and four digs on Friday, while Shalen-Brea Hoopai added 11 kills. For Molokai, senior Leenell Hernandez helped keep it close after the teams split the first two sets on Friday. Her constant hustle and 14 kills combined with 41 digs led the Farmers. Lihiwa Pedro contributed to Molokai with six kills while Heather Place added 24 assists.
On Saturday, Hernandez again helped the local cause with 13 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore Shaniah Mollena-Lopez helped Molokai with nine assists. But clearly this wasn’t enough to hold off Hana’s Helekahi who finished with 11 kills, three digs and three blocks, or Hoopai, who had a solid all-around game with 15 assists, seven kills, six digs and two solo blocks.
The two losses drop Molokai’s record to 5-3 for the season while Hana improves to 6-2.