Posted: August 30, 2011 - 8:09pm
Punahou sweeps past Kamehameha in ILH opener
Punahou rallied from a 20-13 deficit in the first game Tuesday night and went on to sweep Kamehameha, 26-24, 25-18, in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season opener at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
It was a rematch of last year's state title match won by six-time defending champ Kamehameha.
"Like our coach (Peter Balding) says, we gotta have a short-term memory," junior outside hitter Carly Kan said. "This is a new year."
The Buffanblu apparently used that short-term memory to forget about first-set deficits of 9-4, 18-11 and 20-13 last night, after three Kamehameha aces and a series of Punahou hitting errors allowed the Warriors to maintain their lead from the first serve.
Senior outside hitter Tai Manu-Olevao had two kills and a block to spark a 7-1 rally that closed it to 21-20. After Kamehameha went up, 23-21, on a Buffanblu hitting error, Kan spiked a kill through a double block on the left side after a similar shot was dug just moments before.
"Carly had struggled up to that point, but at that critical moment when we needed her to make a play, she did," Balding said. "A quality of this team is its character -- they'll scratch and crawl and grovel. We talk about groveling a lot, getting to the floor. (The Warriors) had a big lead, but we just had to chip away."
A mishandled set tied it at 23-23, but Kamehameha still got to set point at 24-23 on a quick middle hit by Haley Pa'akaula. After a serving error tied it again at 24-24, Punahou took its first lead on a middle block by Remo Gargao.
Brittney Markwith then ended it with a spike down the middle.
"We gotta do a better job of shutting the door," Warriors coach Chris Blake said. "Punahou settled down, and we didn't adjust."
The Buffanblu capitalized on the first-set comeback by carrying that momentum into Game 2, never trailing and taking leads of 7-3, 11-4 and 13-5.
Kamehameha got as close as 17-13 on a block by Pikake Laumauna, but Manu-Olevao's kill ended a long rally two points later and a Warriors error made it 20-13.
"They were serving tougher, and our passing broke down," Blake said. "They knew how to go for the jugular."
Manu-Olevao, a 6-1 senior who has committed to play for the University of Hawai'i next season, led Punahou with 10 kills and Kan added five kills.
Misty Ma'a led the Warriors with eight kills.
August 30, 2011
Kamehameha setter Taira Robins-Hardy attempts a one-handed set against Punahou. Brien Ing | SL
Punahou opposite Carly Kan winds up for a kill attempt against Kamehameha. Brien Ing | SL