HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
No second upset for HBA
Punahou sweeps away Hawaii Baptist’s hopes for the win
Considering the tremendous amount of growth the No. 6 Hawaii Baptist boys volleyball team has undergone this season, a match against perennial state powerhouse Punahou was anything but an afterthought.
With a 7-4 mark entering last night's home match against the Buffanblu, the Eagles were especially high after posting a monumental upset over Interscholastic League of Honolulu giant Kamehameha just two days prior.
But after hanging with the 24-time state champs for the better part of the first game, Hawaii Baptist could not quite scale the mountainous task of upsetting two powers in the same week, falling 25-18, 25-14 at their home gym in Nuuanu.
"With Punahou, we knew that we had to play our best match, and that just didn't happen," Eagles head coach Teoni Obrey said. "They're big, talented and very well-coached, and we really needed to be disciplined and not make too many mistakes."
The first game showcased some high-quality play, as both squads passed well and were able to run their respective offenses with high efficiency, battling point-for-point early, as top-ranked Punahou and HBA combined to commit just two errors over the first 27 points of the set.
Buffanblu setter Riley McKibbin and Eagles counterpart Scott Fujimoto had their attacks flowing well, playing even before a pair of Punahou four-point runs gave them control of the match at 17-9, keyed by four Spencer McLachlin kills.
McLachlin finished with a team-high nine kills.
"He's definitely our go-to guy," said Punahou coach Peter Balding of McLachlin. "Riley's really got confidence going to him in tight spots, and Spencer's got the confidence to handle that responsibility."
HBA put together a respectable run late in the set, tallying six of the match's next eight scores to pull within four at 19-15, but Punahou responded with a three-point run of its own and used two more McLachlin kills to complete their scoring.
Punahou used an early seven-point run in Game 2 to quickly take the reins and cruise to the match sweep, despite the best efforts of Fujimoto and outside hitter Landon Heeder.
Fujimoto tallied 21 assists, while junior Heeder registered a match-high 11 kills.
With five regular-season matches remaining, HBA aims to capture one of the ILH's two Division II berths in the state tournament.
"I'm not sure they played one of their best matches," Balding said.
"They had that long match against Kamehameha and that was a tremendous win for Teoni, his staff and the whole program. It's hard to play at that level for back-to-back matches."
"They're a better team than that. They've done an unbelievable job this season."