DIVISION I HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS VOLLEYBALL
Nordyke hurts ankle in Punahou's win
As expected, the Punahou girls volleyball team ventured into a hostile environment last night and pulled out a victory over host McKinley, but it didn't come without a price.
Senior outside hitter Larissa Nordyke went down with a sprained ankle on an attempt to put down game-point in the first game and didn't return. The Buffanblu went on to defeat the Tigers 25-19, 25-15 in the first round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I Girls Volleyball State Championships, but the talk after the game was on the health of one of the Buffanblu's top players.
"We were calm about it," Diana Hiromoto said. "We have had a lot of injuries it seems, so we're well prepared."
Junior middle blocker Shaena-Lyn Kuehu suffered an injury to her left knee last Wednesday during practice, and is out for the tournament. Nordyke left the gym after Game 1 to have X-rays taken on her ankle, and her status for the rest of the tournament won't be known until today.
"Obviously we wish the best for (Larissa) not just for the team's sake, but for her own good as well," Punahou coach Jim Iams said. "It's a big loss for us if she can't go, but we have some girls that will step up."
Hiromoto was the one who picked up the slack last night, hammering home game-point in Game 1 for her first kill. She added four more kills in Game 2 as Punahou (17-3) overcame an early 5-4 deficit by scoring 14 of the next 17 points to take a commanding 19-7 lead.
"We just practice hard every day to be prepared for any situation," Hiromoto said. "We haven't played away much this season and knew we just had to focus and concentrate and play a complete game."
Elizabeth Kaaihue led Punahou with eight kills and Shawna-Lei Kuehu added seven kills and three blocks for the Buffanblu, who despite the straight-set victory, committed 10 hitting errors. They were able to offset that, however, with six service aces, including three by Melanie Feldman, and six blocks.
"The public schools are always so spirited, so we just tried to stay aggressive and play Punahou volleyball," Kaaihue said. "If (Nordyke) is out, she's some big shoes to fill. She's our power on the outside and everyone will need to step up."
Freshman Brenda Walker led the Tigers with six kills as McKinley managed to stay close with Punahou in the first game. An ace by Crystal Tafai pulled the Tigers to 22-18, but the Buffanblu responded with back-to-back kills by Anuhea Keanini and Alexa Untermann before Nordyke's injury.
"It's the first game of the tournament, so naturally we were a little jittery out there at the beginning," Iams said. "It's good to just get that first one out of the way."
The Buffanblu will face undefeated Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Kamehameha-Hawaii in a quarterfinal match tonight at 6 p.m at McKinley. Punahou has won three of the last six state championships.
Maui 2, Kalani 0
Sophomore Tanya Ugaitafa hammered down a match-high 10 kills and the middle-blocking duo of Janet Ugaitafa and Mandy Madrid teamed up with three blocks apiece as the Maui Interscholastic League runner-up Sabers defeated the Falcons 25-20, 25-22 yesterday at McKinley.
Janet Ugaitafa added seven kills as the Sabers (11-2) got the win despite hitting .179 for the match.
The Sabers' height gave the Falcons fits as Kalani (9-7) fished hitting a paltry .030 for the match with 19 kills and 17 errors.
Senior Courtney Gaddis led the Falcons with six kills and two aces.
Kalani faces McKinley in a consolation game today at 4:30 p.m.
Kristy Inamasu had three aces for the Sabers, who finished with 24 kills compared to just 12 errors.
Maui advances to the quarterfinals tonight to take on the OIA champion and second-seeded Roosevelt Rough Riders at 7:30 p.m. at McKinley.
Moanalua 2, Aiea 0
The Menehunes topped Na Alii 25-20, 25-22 at the Kamehameha gym.
Moanalua (14-2) earned itself a quarterfinal match today against Big Island champion and fourth-seeded Kamehameha-Maui (11-1).
Aiea (12-3) meets Kealakehe in a consolation-bracket game.
Kahuku 2, Kealakehe 0
The Red Raiders easily got past the Waveriders 25-13, 25-16 at the Kamehameha gym.
Kahuku (12-4) takes on top-seeded Kamehameha (17-1) today in the quarterfinals on the Warriors' home court.
Kealakehe dropped to 10-7.