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Kamehameha rolls, takes on Kahuku

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PUKALANI, maui » When Kamehameha is playing this well, there’s not much most other teams can do.

The Warriors were a machine last night, using a balanced attack and relentless defense to sweep Pearl City 25-12, 25-12, 25-17 in the Division I opening round of the HHSAA girls volleyball state championships at Kaulaheanuiokamoku Gym on the campus of Kamehameha-Maui.

The win sets up a showdown between Kamehameha, the five-time defending state champion, and third-seeded Kahuku in a 5 p.m. match today.

"Every game now has the potential to be our last game, so we’re playing as if it’s our last game," said Misty Ma’a, who pounded 11 kills for the Warriors.

Middle Talia Jardin-Fermantez led unseeded Kamehameha (19-2) with 12 kills, all over the middle on sets from freshman Alohi Robins-Hardy. With Ma’a, Amanda Wasko (seven) and Nicole Sniffen (four) smacking the ball, Robins-Hardy kept Pearl City’s normally solid defense off balance.

"Pearl City’s a great team. I’m really proud of our girls. Everybody contributed today," Warriors coach Chris Blake said. "It’s mostly handling our side of the net. It was ball control, and we served pretty tough today."

Serving and blocking helped Kamehameha steer Pearl City’s main weapon, Keani Passi, out of her usual onslaught of bazookas. Passi finished with just six kills.

"We got lucky. We’ve seen her on tape and tried to make her do other things," Blake said.

"We worked a lot on passing yesterday," Ma’a noted.

The Chargers (13-4), who finished first in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West during the regular season, didn’t seem to loosen up until the third set. That’s when Tabytha Inong gave them a spark with three blocks. The lead went back and forth, with Pearl City up 12-11 on a block by Inong.

The game was tied at 15 when the Warriors put the match away with an 8-0 run. After using some reserves in the first two sets, Blake relied on his normal rotation for most of the third.

An ace by senior Jacquelynn Medeiros, along with three kills by Jardin-Fermantez, put the set and match out of reach.

Robins-Hardy, at 6-foot-1, had one of her team’s five blocks, two clever kills and dished out 35 assists.

"We distributed the ball really well today," Blake added.

Brandee Chun and Kaya Chong added four kills apiece. Marie Fujii had 16 assists.

The Warriors had eight hitting errors and hit .402. They limited the Chargers to a .065 hitting percentage.


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