HILO — The kill is a thrill, but blocks are what give Waiakea’s Kamahao Paio the best feeling on the volleyball court.
“The ball hits you on the hand and goes straight down and you get all pumped,” Paoi said.
The 6-foot-3 senior posted 10 kills and six blocks Monday night as the Warriors eased past Hilo 25-21, 25-16, 25-22 in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division I match at their gym.
Warriors coach Ecko Osorio sees a senior-laden group armed with club experience that’s capable of a special season, so even after his team pulled away and stayed out of harm in each set, he graded the performance as unsteady and unspectacular.
“We’re struggling with a lot of unforced errors, serving was a big problem and setting,” Osorio said. “But I thought that we made enough plays to control the game for the most part.”
Senior Dillon Rellez smacked seven kills for Waiakea (4-1), and seniors Mamane Namahoe and Bronson Napoleon both finished with six.
The Warriors have won four straight since a season-opening loss to Kamehameha. In Division I of late, it’s been those two teams — with everyone else, including the Vikings (4-1), chasing an experience gap.
“You can see during the flow of the game how quick the speed that they have on the court,” Vikings coach Ben Pana said. “It’s the level we’re trying to get to.
“The experience for them showed tonight. Every game we look for positive things that we can build upon in practice and slowly improve throughout the season.”
Sione Atuekaho and Kaululaau Ontai each compiled six kills for Hilo, which was clearly bothered by Waiakea’s height at the net. Vikings outside hitter Isaiah Victor didn’t get going until he smacked three kills in the third set. Justice Lord, a 6-6 middle blocker, finished with three kills.
“Our block worked good tonight,” Paio said.
Each set followed a similar pattern. The teams played on equal footing for the first 20 or so points, then Waiakea’s firepower and balance took over.
“Our height and attacking ability was a little bit too much for them at this time of the year,” Osorio said. “I thought we could have done a lot better.
“We have high expectations. This is definitely one of the most talented teams I’ve ever worked with. We were hoping to be a lot more crisp and decisive in our total game.”
The Vikings would have fared better in the first set if not for five service errors. That’s also when Paoi loomed the largest. He tallied six kills and three blocks in Game 1, helping Waiakea overcome any warts along the way.
“Our intensity has to stay at a higher level,” he said. “It tends to go up and down. It started high, but throughout the match it went down. We have to play every match like it’s our last of the season.”