Posted: October 16, 2012 - 11:35pm
Punahou sweeps past Iolani to clinch ILH Division I title
KAIMUKI - Punahou may have swept past Iolani en route to an undefeated run in second round play and the Division I title in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, but much like the two previous matches between these league rivals, it was anything but tidy and clean.
A scrappy Raiders squad gave the Buffanblu all they could handle, but Punahou (15-1) would find a way in each set to close things out, edging Iolani in back and forth three sets, 25-19, 25-21, 25-23.
"They (Iolani) have improved so much over this past year, and one of the things is they have so much heart." said Punahou senior Taylor Dayton. "I don't think I've so much heart from any other teams (we've played)."
And as scary as it might sound, the Buffanblu could see some improvement as well with the return of Dayton, a 5-foot-11 outside hitter, who contributed a kill, two blocks and an ace playing in her first game in nearly a month.
"You can just tell by watching her on the court that there's a presence and a calmness (she brings to the team)," said Buffanblu head coach Peter Balding. "She just adds a real stable presence."
Leading the way for Punahou statistically were a trio of seniors, Carly Kan (12 kills, 1 block), Brittney Markwith (11 kills, 2 blocks) and Clare Feely (7 kills, 3 blocks, 2 aces), along with 8 kills added by junior Remy Gaogao.
For Iolani, a win would have kept their chances for a state title berth alive, and the Raiders played with intensity throughout. But Punahou never lost their composure, hung around in each set, and found enough momentum to close out Iolani when it mattered.
Of particular note was the play of the Buffanblu in the third game, where the Puns trailed early, 4-0.
"We talked about being resilient and in that last game we didn't really play that well, but it was kind of because they took it to us." remarked Balding. "We'd catch up, they'd go ahead, and we just kind of hung around. And I like the way we kind of hung around and in the end, boom, boom."
Seniors Haley Robinson (10 kills) and Loxley Keala (7 kills, 3 blocks) paced Iolani in the loss, with fellow senior Alyssa Liilii adding 2 kills and 4 blocks and junior Hoakalei Dawson chipping in 6 kills and 2 blocks.
Iolani finished the season at 9-6.
October 16, 2012
Punahou OH Taylor Dayton puts down a kill over the block of Iolani's Lauren Uhr. Brien Ing | SL
Iolani's Loxley Keala puts kill attempt past the double block of Punahou. Brien Ing | SL