(Wed) August 29, 2012
ILH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Punahou sweeps Kamehameha
By Wes Nakama
Carly Kan spiked eight kills, Remo Gaogao added seven kills and Brittney Markwith contributed five blocks Tuesday night to help visiting Punahou sweep Kamehameha, 25-20, 25-22 in the Interscholastic League girls volleyball season opener for both teams.
The showdown was a rematch of last year's New City Nissan/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Division I state championship.
Punahou, despite losing four-year starting outside hitter Tai Manu-Olevao to the University of Hawai'i, is ranked No. 5 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com and No. 7 by MaxPreps.
"One thing I've noticed in the three years since I've been back coaching the girls -- every year the team fights, they fight, they claw," Buffanblu coach Peter Balding said. "We're kind of in a bubble period at Punahou where we have a lot of talent, but we're also going to work to get better every day."
Punahou, which went 8-0 in the prestigious Ann Kang Invitational two weeks ago to become the first Hawai'i team to win that tournament in six years, jumped out to a 6-1 start in the first set Tuesday before the Warriors answered with a 6-0 run to lead, 7-6.
Kamehameha later led 12-11, but setter Tayler Higgins landed a dump shot and Claire Feeley followed with a kill to give the Buffanblu the lead for good. A double-hit, hitting error and illegal back row attack by the Warriors then extended the lead to 16-12 Punahou eventually stretched it to 24-17 before ending it on a block by Markwith.
Kamehameha led 4-1 to start the second set, but Gaogao landed two kills to highlight a 6-3 run that tied it at 7-7, and back-to-back kills by Kan broke a 9-9 tie and gave the Buffanblu the lead for good.
A kill by Higgins later pushed the lead to 19-14, and after a net violation and hitting error closed it to 24-22, Markwith ended the match with a solo block.
Afterward, both coaches described the match as "a good measuring stick."
"We're young, and we lost a lot of key contributors (to graduation)," Warriors coach Chris Blake said. "We have 10 new players, a bunch of sophomores, but I thought our defense did well. We emphasize defense and we dig a lot of balls, but Punahou runs a quick offense and Higgins really makes a difference. She makes that offense go."
Feeley added six kills and one block for the Buffanblu.
Faith Ma'afala had five kills and Alohi Robins-Hardy added three kills and an ace for Kamehameha.