[ HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ]
3 ILH teams locked into top 3 spots
The calm before any storm can be a bit unsettling.
Of course, in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, it just means there's more time to prepare. After weeks of constant play in preseason tournaments, ILH teams got their share of rest prior to league openers.
Then came the onslaught of heated competition in the state's premier league. As of today, Punahou, Iolani and Kamehameha are tied at 9-0 in the girls standings. The three powerhouses also occupy the top three spots in today's Star-Bulletin Girls Volleyball Top 10.
"If I'm voting, Kamehameha's gonna be No. 1," said longtime Punahou coach Scott Rigg, who doesn't vote in the poll by choice. "Kamehameha is the team to beat as far as I'm concerned."
Rigg has reason to be concerned as the two teams head for a Saturday night showdown at Kekuhaupio Gym. Starting time is 6:30 p.m.
"I haven't seen enough of Kamehameha, not enough of them being pressed," said Rigg, whose Buffanblu lost the opening set against Sacred Hearts on Saturday before rallying for a three-set victory.
"They are an excellent team. We had to fight to win," he said. "They have a big block, some good players, like their libero. We kind of overlooked them."
Kamehameha coach Chris Blake got a choice opportunity to see Punahou under duress.
"Chris got to see us for three sets," Rigg said. "I'm pretty sure he videotaped us."
The Buffanblu collected eight of the 15 first-place votes in this week's poll. Iolani garnered six and Kamehameha, arguably the deepest team in the state, mustered a single No. 1 vote. Punahou and Kamehameha have not met since the Buffanblu won the Hawaii Invitational title more than a month ago, sweeping the Warriors in the final.
In that matchup, Punahou middle blocker/outside hitter Larissa Nordyke was out with a foot injury. Kamehameha middle Deven Bukoski sat out with a hip injury. Both will be in the lineups this weekend.
"You can only do so much in five days. Hopefully, we've done the work already," Rigg said. "The most underrated part is rest."
Punahou plays Moanalua in a scrimmage tomorrow at 5 p.m.
"We gotta get somebody else in their face besides our second group," Rigg said. "This can be a tough time. This is when coaching comes in. You gotta keep it interesting."
Under Rigg, Punahou has won six state championships in boys and girls volleyball.