POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 03, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 01:34 a.m. HST, Nov 03, 2012
A Punahou-Kamehameha battle to end the girls volleyball season has come to be expected.
Friday's match in the state final again lived up to the anticipation.
In the fifth straight meeting between the programs in the title match, Punahou fought off Kamehameha in four sets to repeat as Division I champion of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championship.
The Buffanblu pulled out the 25-15, 18-25, 25-16, 25-23 victory at Blaisdell Arena to capture the program's seventh state title.
"You always expect it to be a battle with Kamehameha and it always has been," Punahou coach Peter Balding said after winning his third girls state championship and eighth overall, including five boys championships.
Punahou senior Carly Kan put down a match-high 17 kills on 54 swings and Taylor Dayton added nine for the Buffanblu.
"It's really special, especially in your senior year," Kan said amid the on-court celebration.
"(Kamehameha's) always fighting, so it's good to just keeping fighting back."
Punahou won three of the four meetings between the teams during the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season in earning the tournament's top seed.
The Buffanblu opened the tournament with wins over Moanalua and Mililani to set up the matchup with Kamehameha, which survived a four-set battle with Kahuku in the semifinals.
Senior setter Tayler Higgins ran a balanced attack for the Buffanblu in the final, finishing with 37 assists with three kills. Dayton, who had nine kills in last year's final, had eight in the third and fourth sets to help Punahou hold off the Warriors.
"She struggled a little bit in Game 2, but Games 3 and 4 she was nails," Balding said of Dayton.
Balding also credited the play of junior Remo Gaogao for sparking the Buffanblu in Game 4, and defense was a key to Punahou successfully defending the title, with Julia Lau coming up with 21 of the team's 69 digs.
Pomai Recca led Kamehameha with 14 kills and Tiyana Hallums finished with 12, while Alohi Robins-Hardy contributed six kills, 23 assists and 20 digs.
"It was a great season," Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said. "Punahou got the best out of us and it was a great building situation for us. We have a really young team and our players came a long way and I am proud of them."
Punahou was aided by Kamehameha errors early on and took a 10-2 lead to open the match, and Kan's five kills helped the Buffanblu take the early advantage.
Punahou then took a 17-13 lead in the second set before Kamehameha went on a 12-1 run, 10 points coming with Reyn Akiu on the service line. Hallums contributed three kills in the run and seven in the game, the last evening the match at a set apiece.
Punahou's finishing run in the third set moved the Buffanblu closer to the title, closing with an 8-1 spurt with Dayton in on two kills and two blocks in the decisive run.
"All we needed to do was come together and refocus our energy," Dayton said.
The Warriors went to the middle to push ahead in the fourth set as their setters fed Pikake Laumauna for five kills and led 17-11.
Punahou clawed back and tied the set at 22 on Claire Feeley's tip into the middle of the court. After a hitting error gave Kamehameha the lead again, kills by Feeley and Dayton gave Punahou match point with Kan serving.
Feeley and Dayton were at the net to put down the final point.
"I was amazed, it was like the best feeling ever," Dayton said. "I'm so proud of her (Feeley)."
Punahou def. Kamehameha 25-15, 18-25, 25-16, 25-23
Kahuku def. Mililani 25-23, 20-25, 15-13
Moanalua def. Pearl City 25-19, 25-10
Castle def. Hilo 25-19, 26-24
OH: Adora Anae, Kahuku; Carly Kan, Punahou; Jordyn Keamo, Mililani; Pomai Recca, Kamehameha
S: Penina Snuka, Kahuku; Tayler Higgins, Punahou
U: Alohi Robins-Hardy, Kamehameha
DS/L: Julia Lau, Punahou
Most Outstanding Player
Carly Kan, Punahou
|Warriors (16-4, 3-1 HHSAA)|
|Buffanblu (18-1, 3-0 HHSAA)|
Key -- s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; pts: points (kills plus blocks plus aces). Blocks Solo -- Kamehameha 1 (Recca). Punahou 4 (Markwith 2, Feeley 2). Blocks Assists -- Kamehameha 12 (Laumauna 4, Ma'afala 3, Browne 2, Recca 2, Robins-Hardy). Punahou 8 (Dayton 3, Markwith 2, Feeley 2, Matthews). Service Aces -- Kamehameha 1(Ma'afala). Punahou 3 (Dayton, Higgins, Lau). Service errors -- Kamehameha 9 (Ma'afala 3, Hallums 2, Robins-Hardy 2, Yamashiro, Akiu). Punahou 5 (Higgins 3, Dayton, Feeley). Assists -- Kamehameha 41 (Robins-Hardy 23, Ma'afala 16, Laumauna, Katagiri). Punahou 45 (Higgins 37, Matthews 3, Dayton 2, Behrens, Kan, Gaogao). T -- 2:28. A -- 1,942.