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Prep Football Preview Special
Prep Football Preview
Game of the Week
Kalani Takase | ScoringLiveMay 8, 2022, 12:41am
Sat, May 7, 2022 @ Blaisdell [ 7:00 pm ]
KAKAAKO — While much of the world has changed in the last two-plus years, some things, it seems, never change.
Punahou's dominance in the realm of prep boys volleyball, is one of those things.
After two years without their seemingly-annual coronation, the Buffanblu reasserted their place atop the hierarchy of the hardwood by capping an undefeated season with their ninth consecutive state title following their sweep of Moanalua Saturday night.
Punahou defeated Moanalua 25-18, 25-22 and 25-13 in a match-up of league champions from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Oahu Interscholastic Association, respectively,
A crowd of about 1,200 spectators at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena saw the Buffanblu (16-0) hand Na Menehune (15-1) their first loss of the season in the title game of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I State Championships.
Aidan Tune put down 16 kills, Riley Haine 15 and Keaukaiokaiwi Tavares Thompson 13 to lead No. 1 Punahou to its record-38th state title and ninth in a row. All three, along with fellow seniors Keegan Au Yuen and Braydon Simmons, were selected to the all-tournament team; Aidan Tune was tabbed as the tournament's most outstanding player.
Between the trio of Tune, Haine and Tavares Thompson, they were responsible for 44 of Punahou's 48 kills on the night.
"Our seniors, really, I mean, they just step into the moment. They know, they've been in these moments before in club and so they understand what that moment needs from you and they prepare and they do what they need to do to be good in the moment," Punahou coach Rick Tune said.
Haine also notched a team-high 10 digs and Au Yuen tallied 42 assists for the Buffanblu, who hit .367 and did not commit an error in serve-receive.
"We hang our hat on that; we spend a lot of time on that," Tune said. "Our passing is the foundation of everything we do. … That keeps you in the game — serving and passing keeps you in the game — so I think that's what you saw tonight, is a real good serving and passing match from us and we just did enough hitting and sprinkled in a bit of defense. Just enough there, but yeah, it was enough."
The teams were tied at 12 in the opening set, before the Puns made their move. Aidan Tune slammed consecutive kills to start an 8-2 run to make the score 20-12. Moanalua got to within 22-18, but Punahou scored the final three points of game 1 with a pair of Riley Haine kills sandwiched around a double-block by Teke Bower and Au Yuen.
Na Menehune were ahead, 11-10, in the second set after a kill from the right side by Keanu Kawaa, but they put the ensuing serve into the next and then committed an attack error, before Punahou seized the opportunity with another Bower-Au Yuen double-block, followed by a kill by Haine out of the back row that was set-up by a spectacular diving dig by Tavares Thompson.
That gave the Buffanblu a 14-11 lead and just enough breathing room to fend off the Menes, who cut it to 24-22 after a 4-0 run of their own, but after Rick Tune called the one and only timeout he used in the match, his son, Aidan, finished off game 2 with a kill from the left side.
The third set was all Punahou. Tavares Thompson served up an ace that was part of an early 4-0 run. Moanalua's Christian Tafao put one down from the left side to keep his team within two points of the Buffanblu at 8-6, but that was as close as it got.
Punahou went on a 15-3 run that included back-to-back service aves by Aidan Tune and another by Carter Che to go up 23-10. A few points later, Bower finished off championship point with a kill — his only one of the match — out of the middle, off an assist from Au Yuen.
For Haine and the rest of the Buffanblu seniors, it was a moment years in the making. In addition to high school season, most of them also play club together at Spike & Serve.
New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I Boys Volleyball All-Tournament TeamAs selected by the HHSAA and working mediaRiley Haine, PunahouKeaukaiokaiwi Tavares Thompson, PunahouKeanu Kawaa, MoanaluaChristian Tafao, MoanaluaKeegan Au Yuen, PunahouBraydon Simmons, PunahouMost Outstanding Player: Aidan Tune, Punahou
"I mean, just super happy. We played hard all season, we trained really hard in the weight room, in the gym," Haine said. "I think we really just showed our skills in this final set and this final match. I'm super proud of the boys and how we played."
Rick Tune, who has coached his alma mater to 11 state titles in the last 12 seasons, was appreciative of the moment.
"It's kind of a new moment again, right, because we haven't had a state tournament in three years so this is kind of a new moment and I'm just really happy for our whole team," he said. "They're persevered and grinded and sacrificed for one another and it's a hell of a senior class."
Tune felt that his team executed at about 85 percent of its full potential Saturday night — which left some room for improvement, but again, it was adequate to get the win.
"I just said, like I always do every time, I just said, ‘You don't need to do more than you normally do, right? You don't need to hit harder. You don't need to jump higher. You don't need to move faster. You just do what you normally do and execute it at a high level,' " Rick Tune said. "I didn't think we were at a hundred (percent efficiency), our block wasn't very good tonight, but you know, we had enough things going on that we got the job done."
Moanalua was held to a .090 hitting percentage. Kawaa was held to seven kills on 29 total swings a day after he racked up 30 kills on 85 attempts.
"Yeah, I mean, that was the focus was obviously to stop him and Keanu — I just want to say — that kid gave his heart and soul (Friday) night," Rick Tune said. "He plays for me in club, so I love that kid and, you know, he had to have been a little bit tired after getting 85 swings the night before. That's tough for anybody to handle."
Tafao and Jayden Bush added five kills apiece for Na Menehune. Setters Malu Wilcox (10 assists, five digs) and AJ Matsumoto (nine assists, five digs). Tafao also had five digs in the loss.
"I think we competed with them in the first two sets and we got a lot of production from all the guys that we wanted, it's just one or two points here and there and you know, when you're playing a really good team like Punahou, you can't let up that one or two points because they capitalize on it really well," Moanalua coach Alan Cabanting said.
Na Menehune were playing in their first state final since 2013, when they lost to Punahou in four sets. They were seeking the first state championship in program history.
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