WAILUKU - The race in Maui Interscholastic League Division II girls volleyball is throttling down the home stretch.
Seabury Hall swept St. Anthony 25-18, 25-18, 25-21 on Wednesday night at War Memorial Gym to move into a first-place tie with Hana. Both are 8-1 with one match to play in the regular season.
If the Spartans beat Lanai (1-7) and Hana takes care of Molokai (4-4) - both will be Friday on senior night at home for the leaders - they will have a playoff match Monday for the MIL regular-season title and the state berth that goes with it.
St. Anthony’s Treyanna Freitas (from left) attempts a first-set kill against the block of Seabury Hall's Gabby Ratte and Regal Deen-Jackson on Wednesday at War Memorial Gym.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
St. Anthony head coach Al Paschoal talks to his players during a first-set timeout Wednesday.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The MIL tournament starts Tuesday, where the second state berth will be on the line.
"We are a young team still searching for our identity," Seabury Hall coach Scottie Zucco said after the win over the Trojans. "It is starting to become clear, as it did tonight."
Middle blockers Regal Deen-Jackson and Kiki Leuteneker led the Spartans' attack. Deen-Jackson, a 6-foot-2 senior, had nine kills and two blocks, while Leuteneker, a 6-1 sophomore, had five kills, two blocks and two aces.
|x-clinched regular-season championship|
|Seabury Hall def. St. Anthony|
|25-18, 25-18, 25-21|
|Baldwin at Molokai (nonleague),|
|Kamehameha Maui at Maui High,|
|King Kekaulike at Lahainaluna,|
|Molokai at Hana, 6 p.m.|
|Lanai at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.|
|Maui High at Baldwin, noon|
|Maui Prep vs. Lanai|
|at Erdman Athletic Center, noon|
|St. Anthony vs. Molokai|
|at Wailuku Gym, noon|
|End of regular season|
Gabby Ratte, a 5-8 sophomore setter, ran the show with 23 assists, five kills and five aces.
"Our middles played really well, Regal and Kiki," Zucco said. "Kiki had a phenomenal offensive night."
The Trojans are now in a battle for the third seed in the MIL D-II tournament, a spot that would keep them away from possible showdown with the No. 1 seed until the tournament final.
Zucco expects the Trojans to be a factor in what appears to be a wide-open tournament.
"One, they have great kids, and two, they have great coaching," Zucco said of the Trojans. "You could see when you look at game one, two, and three - every game they get better and better. We have nothing but respect for them."
The Trojans opened up an 8-4 lead in the first set, before the Spartans took a 13-9 lead with a 9-1 run. In the second set, St. Anthony led 3-0, 6-3 and 8-6 before a kill by Deen-Jackson gave the Spartans a 9-8 lead they would not relinquish.
Seabury Hall took a 14-10 lead in the final set before an ace by St. Anthony's Maddy Dixon closed the gap to 14-13. Seabury Hall pushed the lead back to 22-19 before St. Anthony got within 22-21 on back-to-back errors by Seabury Hall.
An ace by Ratte and a kill by Deen-Jackson ended the match.
"They are a developing D-II power," Zucco said of the Trojans. "I think this is the first year where there is a lot more parity in the D-II tournament. Molokai has a great bunch of athletes; St. Anthony, great team there; and then you've got Hana, who is always tough. Anybody given the right day and the right breakfast can take home the crown this year."
St. Anthony was led by senior Alicia Ballesteros, who had 10 kills, 10 digs, and two aces. Freshman Treyanna Freitas had seven kills, eight digs, and two aces, while senior Maddy Dixon had 37 assists.
"It is all about the tournament for us now," St. Anthony coach Al Paschoal said. "We still have a very big game against a very good Molokai team on Saturday. That has got some heavy implications for third and fourth place."
* Robert Collias is at firstname.lastname@example.org