Thursday, November 13, 2003


Punahou sweeps

Not on their turf.

The Punahou girls volleyball team used a refuse-to-lose attitude and amazing hitting efficiency to oust defending state champion Kahuku in quarterfinal action at the 2003 Nissan Girls Volleyball state tournament yesterday.

Before a raucous crowd at Hemmeter Fieldhouse, the Buffanblu defeated the Lady Raiders 25-18, 29-27 to reach the tonight's 6:30 semifinal against Moanalua. The Menehunes advanced with a 27-25, 26-24 win over St. Joseph.

In the other bracket, Kamehameha moved into the semifinals with a 25-19, 25-15 win over Seabury Hall.

"We do not like to lose. It's our home gym," setter Pohai Nuuhiwa said. "We don't like anyone to come in and take over.

There were few moments the Buffanblu weren't in control yesterday. Punahou jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the deadly serving of freshman outside hitter Larissa Nordyke, who blasted three aces.

The Buffanblu's tough serving prevented Kahuku from utilizing middles Monarisa Ale (seven kills, two blocks) and Musie Oleva'o (five kills) more often.

"We received serve well and served well," Punahou coach Scott Rigg said. "We wanted to make sure we out-ball-controlled them. Offensively they had a lot of weapons. Our assistant coach (Randy) Nako got us a lot of good match-ups with them blocking. Their quick hitters are just so physical."

Punahou took its largest lead in Game 1 at 19-12 off a kill by Nordyke. From there, the Buffanblu were comfortably ahead. Junior Aneli Cubi-Otineru put down her sixth kill to give Punahou a 23-16 lead. Freshman Elizabeth Kaaihue closed out the game with two kills.

Otineru was Nuuhiwa's favorite target, getting six of her 12 kills in Game 1. Kaaihue chipped in 10 kills for the match while Nordyke finished with six kills and three aces.

The Buffanblu seemed headed for another comfortable win with a 21-15 lead in Game 2 when the Lady Raiders got back to basics and made a few adjustments. Kahuku used a 5-0 run to make the game interesting. Ale and Aisha Ale dropped in on Nordyke to cut the Buffanblu lead to one at 21-20.

Kahuku tied the score at 23 off a Punahou hitting error. There were four more ties with neither team able to close out the game. The Lady Raiders had a chance when Ale's tip dropped to give Kahuku a 27-26 advantage. But Kaaihue scored the Buffanblu's final three points with a kill and back-to-back aces.

Punahou's hitting efficiency didn't surprise Rigg, though he was curious to see how his team would perform after having a first-round bye.

"Our first strike was pretty good," Rigg said. "Towards the end that might have made a bit of a difference. They started picking up a lot of balls and our first strike wasn't going down. It was kind of different for us. Maybe we got a little bit impatient. But to beat the defending state champions right out of the blocks ... We're real happy."

Kalani 2, Roosevelt 1: The top-seeded survived a too-close-for-comfort quarterfinal match against the scrappy Rough Riders, beating Roosevelt 25-20, 24-26, 25-20.

Tamari Miyashiro brought her team back from the brink several times. The junior outside hitter had a double-double with 26 kills and 17 digs. Monica Seguancia had 10 kills for Roosevelt.

Moanalua 2, St. Joseph 0: The Menehunes avenged last year's state tournament quarterfinal loss to the Cardinals by sweeping the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion.

The Menehunes took a 14-8 lead off a net violation by the Cardinals. But on Lee's tiny shoulders, St. Joseph climbed back into the game. Lee sandwiched two kills around a Moanalua hitting error to cut the deficit to 15-12. St. Joseph evened the score at 19 off a Moanalua hitting error. The Menehunes scored the next two points and forced St. Joseph coach Rachelle Hanohano to use her final timeout.

Following the timeout, the Cardinals couldn't convert off an excellent dig as Lisha Natividad hit wide. The score should have been 22-19, but neither team noticed that an extra point had been awarded to Moanalua on the scoreboard. Had St. Joseph noticed the scoreboard, which read 23-19, it would have had to protest officials before the next serve.

"If there was a question about the score, it would have had to have been asked before the next serve," said Wayne Lee, head of the official scorers.

Instead, the game continued and the Cardinals went on a 6-1 run. Jazmin Pa'akaula's second ace gave St. Joseph its first and only lead of the game at 25-24. But Moanalua scored three straight points to win.

In Game 2, the Menhunes came back from a 19-13 deficit to win as outside hitter Resina Nataniela put down three of her 11 kills in a 5-0 run to close out the match.

Pa'akaula led the Cardinals with 12 kills, eight digs and two aces. Moanalua's Lindsey Lee finished with 10 kills.

Kamehameha 2, Seabury Hall 0: The Warriors served 19 aces and needed just 40 minutes to sweep the Spartans.

Senior outside hitter Mounia Nihipali had 10 kills and six aces. Setter Anela Iseke and defensive specialist Kristal Tsukano added three aces each. Lecca Roberts led Seabury Hall with eight kills and three blocks.


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