HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha players celebrated a point against Iolani during last night's match.
Warriors win ILH over Raiders
A pack of team friends clad in blue and white malos rushed the court to help the Kamehameha varsity girls volleyball team celebrate its Interscholastic League of Honolulu title after the Warriors defeated No. 1 Iolani, 25-21, 25-20 last night on the Raiders' home floor.
It took a team effort for the Warriors (17-1) to get their second win over the Raiders (16-2) in the last 48 hours. On Tuesday, Kamehameha won a close three-game match at home against the Raiders, which forced yesterday's meeting for the overall ILH title.
With the state tournament set for Monday, both teams are looking toward the future.
"It was a good win for us," said Kamehameha coach Chris Blake, his voice hoarse from the excitement of the win. "We can enjoy it for today, but we got a few days before states, and we got a lot of things to work on."
The championship is the first for the Warriors since 2002.
Passing was the key for the Warriors as setter Keaalohi Kea distributed the volleyballs with ease for most of the match.
"The passing was awesome. I had so much fun," Kea said. "Everything comes with the first pass, and that's what we had to do."
Alexis Robins led the Warriors with seven kills, with middle Bekah Torres adding six kills and three blocks. Iolani's Lauren Minkel recorded a team-high five kills, while Miyoko Pettit and Leilani Keanini each added four.
"We need a little bit more fight when we're playing," Iolani coach Luis Ramirez said, adding that his team's focus needs to improve.
Because of better passing, the Kamehameha middles got more sets, with the middles Torres and Deven Bukoski getting 11 kills between them.
But as the Warrior middles started to get hot, the once prolific Iolani middle attack cooled down considerably. Iolani middles Megan Burton and Chelsea Ching, who combined for 15 kills on Tuesday, were limited to only three in yesterday's match. Though junior setter Kapua Kamana'o tried to go to the middle early, the Kamehameha defense put up a wall, getting two blocks on Burton to jump out to a 4-1 lead in Game 1.
"We definitely focused on the middle, because their middles are really strong," Robins said. "But we also wanted to get our middles involved, getting them to run more plays because Iolani has such a good block."
Kamehameha outblocked Iolani 5-3.
The Warriors built a seven-point lead midway through the game when the Raiders came back. Fueled by three aces, Iolani tied the game at 17-17, then took a two-point lead following two Kanani Herring hitting errors. But the Warriors went on a run of their own, scoring five unanswered points to take back control of the game.
"We had a few lulls, but they fought through it," Blake said. "The girls executed very well throughout the whole match."
"Kamehameha's one of the best teams here, they don't give out too much," Ramirez said. "We have to make the most of it. You have to go in with the attitude that you got to win."
The teams traded the lead several times in Game 2, though the same problems popped up for the Raiders. Again trying to get a middle attack going, Iolani lost its small lead at 14-13 with a roof of Burton by Herring and Torres. On the next point, the Warriors took the lead with another double block, this time it was Torres and Kea denying a Minkel kill attempt from the right side.
With the game tied at 20-20, the Warriors outscored the Raiders 5-0 to finish off the match. Bukoski ended the run with her second service ace.
"We're just looking forward to the state tournament," Ramirez said. "We're over this match already, and I'm pretty sure we're going to see them down the line."