By Bonta Hill
Wednesday night’s showdown between visiting Sacred Heart Cathedral and University High School quickly turned into the Keani Hin show.
With her powerful serves and soft touches around the net, the junior led the Irish with 11 kills, four aces, and three blocks from the middle blocker position, as Sacred Heart Cathedral (11-4) beat the Red Devils 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-17).
“Keani did great tonight,” said Sacred Heart Cathedral head coach Margi Biema. “She kept giving her setters options and overall [we] played with a lot of heart.”
After an intense first game in which both teams came out with an abundance of energy, the Irish took complete control of the match in the second game.
Hin dominated the second frame with seven kills and two aces, and the Irish appeared to have an answer for every Red Devil rally.
“We’ve been working really hard in practice, working on the little things,” Hin said. “Little by little, we’re getting in sync.”
Hin’s dominant performance overshadowed Irish setter Maritza Sazo’s effort, as Sazo finished with 17 assists and seven digs.
“We wanted to come out and go after them and we did that by coming out with a lot of energy,” Sazo said. “Having a hitter like Keani, who is so fast, anywhere I put the ball, she goes and gets it.”
University head coach Ki Choi said he knew this would be a tough match coming in and even though the Red Devils didn’t win a game, Choi liked the energy and effort he saw from his team after losing Tuesday night to Lincoln.
“A loss is always going to be tough,” Choi said. “We had good energy tonight, stuck with our game plan, and we had a lot of long rallies. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to overcome.”
University has had a tough non-league schedule and Choi admitted his team might be a little tired.
However, Choi had no problem giving credit to Sacred Heart Cathedral’s rising star.
“[Hin’s] a steady player and does a good job of playing steady,” Choi said. “She’s an athletic kid, and she reads well. She did a good job tonight.”
For the Irish, things are looking up as they look to be jelling right before the beginning of West Catholic Athletic League play.
“We played pretty tenacious defense tonight and our blockers were everywhere,” said Biema. “We struggled on service feeds in game one, but we clamped down the rest of the way.”
On a night where the Irish seemed to have everything clicking, this night undoubtedly belonged to Hin.
“I just felt like I had to take care of my job on the court and take of business,” said Hin. “Whether it was me on the back row or in front of the net, I had to take of business.”