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Spartans place second

Saint Francis rallies for D-II repeat after losing first two sets

November 3, 2012
By STANLEY LEE , For The Maui News

HONOLULU - Saint Francis finally woke up, found a sugar rush and then roared away to another state title.

The top-seeded Saints rallied from two sets down for a 19-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-9 win over Seabury Hall in Friday's New City Nissan Division II Girls Volleyball Championship final at Blaisdell Arena.

Angel Savea had 21 kills to help Saint Francis (16-1) win its second straight state title, and was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

Article Photos

Seabury Hall’s Regal Deen-Jackson tries to send a shot past Saint Francis’ Malia Luis-Mateo (left) and Sierra Esperas during the Saints’ 19-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-9 victory over the Spartans on Friday in the Division II state title match at Blaisdell Arena.

SEAN NAKAMURA / ScoringLive photo

Regal Deen-Jackson had 13 kills for the third-seeded Spartans (14-2), while Kiki Leuteneker had 12 kills and a .324 hitting percentage. Both were named to the all-tournament team.

After an emotional and wild run through the state tournament, Seabury left with a runner-up trophy, pride in what it accomplished and optimism for next season.

"It's better than I can ever imagine. I don't think anyone expected us to get this far," said libero Lena Fox, one of the Spartans' three seniors. "It's the greatest way to end my volleyball career - fantastic, amazing."

Fact Box


Friday's Results * At Blaisdell Arena


Consolation final-Castle def. Hilo 25-19, 26-24

Fifth place-Moanalua def. Pearl City 25-19, 25-10

Third place-Kahuku def. Mililani 25-23, 20-25, 15-13

Championship-Punahou def. Kamehameha Kapalama 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 25-23


Consolation final-Konawaena def. Kaimuki 25-20, 24-26, 17-15

Fifth place-Hawaii Prep def. Waimea 27-26, 25-18

Third place-Farrington def. Kau 22-25, 25-21, 19-17

Championship-St. Francis def. Seabury Hall 19-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-19, 15-9

The Maui Interscholastic League champions swept Hawaii Prep in Wednesday's quarterfinals and rallied from a two-set deficit to beat No. 2 Farrington in a semifinal match Thursday.

"This is what you dream of as a freshman and I've never even won a game at state for my entire career," said Deen-Jackson, also a senior. "Just even winning the first match and then the second one and having a chance for the title, it's a good feeling."

Saint Francis had won its first two state matches in sweeps, including a quarterfinal victory over Hana, before struggling at the start Friday.

"It was our energy, we weren't ready," said Saints libero Pualehua Keola, whose ace ended the match. "We came back out, got pumped, got some sugar and got some candy. We were amped. It was some comfort food."

Seabury led 3-1 in the final set before Saint Francis used a 6-0 run to take over. The Spartans cut the deficit to 10-8 after back-to-back kills from Leuteneker, but got no closer.

Deen-Jackson said her team was "very light and excited" in the first two sets. That upbeat demeanor began to fade as the experienced Saints made their charge.

"Once it gets serious, that's when we fall down and it gets too heavy on the court," Deen-Jackson said.

Seabury had won 12 matches in a row.

"I said they have nothing to be ashamed about," Spartans coach Scottie Zucco said. "It's a great accomplishment getting to the state tournament with such a young team and coming from the outer islands where we're not challenged as much. We were really pleased with our effort.

"Unfortunately tonight, the execution wasn't there, especially the passing. Saint Francis did a great job at serving. Unfortunately when we can't pass, we can't run our middles, and that's our strength."

Seabury Hall was looking to be the second MIL team to win a girls state volleyball title, joining the Molokai squad of 2010.

"We do have a very young team but they're some of the most mature girls I know," said Fox, who had 29 digs. "I have confidence they'll do just fine next year."

Zucco said this week's competition will prove valuable in the future.

"It's one of those elusive ingredients to success," he said. "Oftentimes, experience comes in the form of failure. We'll chew it up and go over what went wrong and make appropriate adjustments, and next time we're back there, we'll change the outcome."



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