Saturday, August 20, 2005


Los Alamitos players Rachel Moss and Katelyn Burke, right, celebrated a point in the second game against Punahou.

Punahou eliminated

Kahuku knocks the Buffanblu out
of the Ann Kang Invitational
with a 22-21, 25-24 victory

The defending state champions went down in the opening round of championship play yesterday in the Ann Kang Invitational. With a squad filled with youth and inexperience, Punahou was eliminated by Kahuku 22-21, 25-24.

The Lady Raiders fell behind by as many as six points in the match, but rallied back to sweep the Buffanblu.

Host Iolani was the only Hawaii team in the championship bracket to win its first match yesterday, defeating Redondo Union of California 24-21, 25-23. With the win, Iolani moves on to play Bakersfield. Kahuku plays the loser of the Los Alamitos (Calif.)-Rim of the World game at noon.

Punahou ended up in the elimination game by losing a close match to the Los Alamitos Griffins 25-24, 25-23. The Buffanblu squandered a late three-point lead to lose Game 2 and the match.

"We just need to learn how to play with a lead," Punahou coach Scott Rigg said.

The Buffanblu were unable to capitalize on Griffin errors, as well as diversify their offense, which focused almost exclusively on Liz Kaaihue.

"She's carrying a big offensive load for us right now," Rigg said. "But as our team starts to develop, I'd like us to be maybe not so predictable."

Punahou's Diana Hiromoto hit behind a Los Alamitos player during last night's match.

Kaaihue slammed down 13 kills in the match, including eight in Game 1. But in Game 2, Los Alamitos blockers slowed down the junior hitter. The Griffins recorded five blocks in the match, including two of Kaaihue.

After the Buffanblu played together for a little over a week, Rigg said he couldn't ask more of his team.

"For that simple offense that we run now, I'm happy that we stayed with them," Rigg said.

Carly Hiromoto and Kaui Robello contributed four kills and three kills respectively.

Los Alamitos had not dropped a game in the tournament, going 8-0 in pool play. Griffin outside hitter Rachel Moss helped keep that record unblemished, coming through with two thundering kills to end the match.

"She was clutch," Los Alamitos coach Jimmy Munoz said. "We know that whenever we have to put a ball away, we send it outside."

Moss, a 5-foot-9 senior, has committed to Duke.

The match was close throughout, with no team making long runs. Facing a Griffin game point, Hiromoto got her attack from the right side to fall, tying the game at 24-all. But a Punahou service error resulted in a win for the Griffins. In tournament play, a team does not have to win by two points.

No. 1-seeded Los Alamitos, last year's Division I California Interscholastic Federation champion, plays second seed Rim of the World today at 9:45 a.m. Rim of the World advanced to the match with a 25-16, 25-13 rout of Kahuku.

"It was a really good test for my girls, made them stick around," Munoz said. "To see them come back and fight, and get the 'W,' I'm stoked."

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