Mililani Girls Varsity Volleyball Team Wins OIA Championship

Leigh Berry, Reporter

     On Oct. 16, the MHS girls varsity volleyball team played against Moanalua High School at Moanalua High School for the 2019 Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) title. The match continued for all five sets and, in the end, Mililani pulled through to victory, outscoring 15-10 Moanalua in the final set. Mililani’s OIA win crowned the team OIA Champions for the second year in a row — a first in MHS’ history — and secured a spot for the girls in the Hawai’i High School Athletics Association (HHSAA) Girls Volleyball State Championships.

     “It [winning OIAs] meant so much to me because, being a senior and having the opportunity to play on varsity for all 4 years, I wanted this championship so bad. Doing it by this group of girls, especially my sister, Aria, I was extremely blessed,” said setter and opposite Senior Aysia Miller. Middle blocker Senior Emma Berry added, “It’s a good way to end my senior year and I’m very proud of this team.”

     The team’s strategy going into the OIA tournament was to focus on adjusting to their competitors’ plays, allowing them to stay in control of their side of the court. While this strategy played a crucial role in their victory, it was the team’s quick thinking and last minute improvisations that gave the girls the push they needed to be triumphant in the game. “We adjusted from a 5-1 setting rotation to a 6-2 in the second set and also switched our libero to Mariah Fukumoto. It was a good adjustment because it gave us a lot of options to spread out and resettle. Some plays that stood out to me was all the last points of the 5th set because we were on a roll and knew we could win,” said Miller. Berry added, “(Fala)nika’s hit at the end was amazing.”

     After the volleyball team won OIAs, they set their sites on the state tournament, where they looked forward to playing their first game against Punahou High School. “Winning OIA’s has given us an extra boost of confidence. As individuals, we’re all extremely skilled and talented, but together we’re unstoppable,” said defensive specialist Senior Noa Torio. Berry added, “We are practicing harder, and we’re more motivated to win state.”

     The team’s strategy going into the state tournament remained the same. They hoped to bring the same level of teamwork and dedication to state as they did to OIAs. “I feel excited and pumped up about states, it’s a once in a lifetime experience and it will be my last before I’m off to college. I want to make every game a good one,” said Miller. Torio added, “For states, we’re making sure that we’re ready to face bigger and better teams. Every year, it’s hard to get past an ILH (Interscholastic League of Honolulu) team, but I believe that we are ready to take on the challenge.”

     On Oct. 25, the MHS girls varsity volleyball team lost their game against Punahou and the day after, on Oct. 26, they lost their final game, placing fourth in the tournament. Moanalua took their revenge against Mililani in their final state game, beating them in two of three sets and placing third overall in the state. The sets were scored 25-13 Mililani, 26-28 Moanalua and 15-13 Moanalua.