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Tuesday, November 9, 2004



[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]

No. 1 Punahou
regains top player

It is almost unfair, but then again, that's life sometimes.

When Punahou takes the court at King Kekaulike High School gym Thursday, the Buffanblu aren't just stepping out as the No. 1 team in the Star-Bulletin Girls Volleyball Top 10.

They take the floor with a "new" player, 2003 Player of the Year Aneli Cubi-Otineru. After sitting out the regular season, the senior outside hitter returned to the Punahou lineup last week during the Interscholastic League of Honolulu playoffs, and the Buffanblu didn't miss a beat while capturing the league title.

Punahou (16-0), seeded first in the state tournament, has a first-round bye before playing the Kauai-Kalani winner Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

The tournament could be fascinating for Maui fans who usually have to travel to Oahu to see the states. The highest-ranked entry from the Maui Interscholastic League is No. 9 Kamehameha-Maui. The Warriors, without a senior, closed out a perfect MIL season with a 13-0 record.

The boys state tourney, at the Kamehameha Schools-Hawaii campus in Keaau, also tips off Wednesday. Punahou (13-0), ranked No. 1 all season, drew the top seed and will meet the Kohala-Nanakuli winner Thursday, 3:30 p.m.

Kamehameha, which upended Iolani twice last week to earn a state tournament berth, jumped to No. 2. Iolani, which slipped to No. 3, is the highest-ranked team not in the state tourney.

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