ILH Girls Volleyball
Kamehameha rallies to 5-set win over Punahou in ILH girls volleyball


Tue, Oct 19, 2021 @ Kamehameha [ 6:30 pm ]

FINAL  1   2   3   4   5      
PUN (10-2) 25 23 21 25 9 2
KSK (8-5) 21 25 25 19 15 3

KAPALAMA HEIGHTS — There was no denying Kamehameha this time around. 

Devin Kahahawai amassed a match-high 33 kills and Nadia Koanui added 11 to help Kamehameha to a thrilling five-set win over visiting Punahou in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu girls volleyball match Tuesday night. 

A crowd of about 100 fans — mostly parents of players from both teams — were on-hand at the Warriors' Kekuhaupio Gymnasium for the very first time this season. They saw Kamehameha rally past the Buffanblu for a 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 19-25, 15-9 victory to pull the teams even at 5-2 atop the league's Division I standings with two matches to play in the nine-game first round of the ILH schedule. 

It was the third and final meeting between the teams, unless they cross paths in the second round, which is a double-elimination tournament. 

Punahou had swept Kamehameha in both previous meetings: Sept. 21 at Hemmeter Fieldhouse and Oct. 1 at Kekauhupio. 

But the Warriors turned the tables on the Buffanblu Tuesday night. 

"It's the most rewarding thing ever, honestly, because the first two games they beat us every single time and we couldn't figure out why they kept beating us, so every day we came into the gym and our main goal was to rewatch games, figure out what we could improve on and that's what we focused on this game specifically," said Koanui, a 5-foot-8 senior outside hitter. "I think in general we just played better as a team this game because in the other games we had parts where we fell apart, but in this one we really stuck together."

Her coach could not agree more. 

"I think it's a testament to the resiliency of the team. We believe the strength of our team is our team and it was a balanced match," said Kamehameha coach Chris Blake, whose team played its fourth consecutive match without standout outside hitter Maui Robins (ankle). 

"We saw some of the things that (Punahou) did on tape and they did things a little bit differently (Tuesday night), but I think our girls did a wonderful job," Blake added. "The coaching staff did a great job of making adjustments and we were lucky enough to come back and played really well in that fifth set to pull it out."

The Buffanblu staved off the Warriors' hopes to close it out in the fourth set with an 11-3 run that turned a 9-7 deficit into an 18-12 lead. Kamehameha called timeout trailing 21-14 and cut it to 21-18, but Punahou finished the set with a 4-1 run to even the match at two sets apiece. 

It was Punahou that seemingly had all the momentum to carry into the deciding fifth set. 

The Buffanblu took an early 1-0 lead on middle Grace Fiaseu's 10th kill of the match, but it wound up being the only time they were ahead in game 5. 

An out serve followed Fiaseu's kill to tie it and Devin Kahahawai sandwiched a pair of kills from the right side around a rare double-contact violation on Punahou standout setter and University of Hawaii-commit Jaclyn Matias to quickly make it a 4-1 Kamehameha lead. 

Punahou got to within 7-4 following a Lulu Uluave kill — her 13th of the match — but the Warriors answered with a 4-1 run that was ignited by a sprawling dig by libero Payton Oliveira and led to a kill from Kahahawai out of the back row. 

"Payton has been doing a lot of great stuff as one of our captains," Blake said of the 5-foot-7 senior. 

The other three points in the run were all kills off the right arm of Koanui from the left side; the last one forced the Buffanblu to call their second timeout facing an 11-5 deficit. 

The closest Punahou got the rest of the way was within 12-7 after Lucky-Rose Williams put down her team-leading 19th kill. Kamehameha's Marley Roe and Adrianna Arquette teamed for a double block for their team's 13th point, but Roe went down with an apparent ankle injury after she landed awkwardly. 

Kahahawai closed out the match with her final two kills, both coming off of assists from Sierra Scanlan, who shared the setting duties with Roe in the Warriors' two-setter offense. 

Roe recorded 30 assists, six kills, two aces and two block assists. Scanlan tallied 28 assists. 

"Our setters did a great job of getting that ball to where they had to and I'm real proud of all the girls. I think Marley did some great things, Sierra did wonderful things for us, Devin did a wonderful job and we did a great job at distributing the load to make sure that we can run balanced and I think out team did a great job of pulling it out when it mattered the most," Blake said. 

The Warriors posted eight team blocks to six for the Buffanblu. 

Arquette had eight kills and five block assists and Tia Kapihe added seven kills and four block assists. 

"(Punahou) put us under a lot of pressure, but I think we did a lot of great things at the service line to force them into some plays, so we did a great job of execution," Blake said. 

Matias totaled 41 assists, two kills and one of Punahou's four aces. Fiaseu registered two solo blocks and three block assists, Belle Iosua contributed eight kills, three assists, one ace and a block assists and Haumea Marumoto chipped in with seven kills and a block assist. 

The Buffanblu used an 8-2 run to pull away in the opening set, 25-21. Game 2 was one of runs; an ace by Roe capped a 6-1 run for Kamehameha, which led 11-6. Punahou pulled ahead with a 9-1 run, but the hosts retaliated by scoring six of the next seven points to seize a 21-20 advantage en route to a 25-22 win. 

There were seven ties in game 3, but Kamehameha got some separation with a 6-1 run that turned an 11-9 deficit into a 14-12 lead. 

The Warriors committed 19 hitting errors to 17 for the Buffanblu. 

Kamehameha has now won five of its last six matches and three in a row. 

"I think it's another step in our process," Blake said.

Punahou saw its four-match win streak come to an end. It will host Mid-Pacific (0-7) Friday before closing out the ILH first round at Iolani (4-3) Tuesday. 

Kamehameha visits Iolani Friday, then hosts Mid-Pac Tuesday. 

The second round (double-elimination tournament) is scheduled to get underway on Nov. 9.

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].

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