DIVISION I SEMIFINAL
Kamehameha survives scare from Moanalua
Enduring an onslaught of knockout swings from Moanalua, top-seeded Kamehameha was unexpectedly backed up against the ropes.
That's when Jordan Meredith rose to the challenge. Meredith came up with a pivotal kill and a timely ace down the stretch as the Warriors outlasted Moanalua 25-16, 20-25, 25-22 last night in the semifinals of the New City Nissan/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Girls Volleyball State Championships.
A raucous crowd of about 2,000 witnessed a match that could qualify as an instant classic, and a statewide audience saw the first-ever televised match from the Kamehameha facility.
Meredith pounded eight of her 12 kills in the final game. The junior outside hitter also had three of her team's five service aces. Herring led the way with 15 kills and a roof.
Kamehameha (19-1) will face Interscholastic League of Honolulu nemesis Punahou tonight for the championship at Stan Sheriff Center. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
"Liz (Ka'aihue) is playing great, and Jim (Iams) is going to get them prepped for us," Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said.
In Game 3, Moanalua was within 21-20 after Kaylee Ponce's kill over the middle. Meredith then connected on her final kill, and delivered an ace to push Kamehameha to a 23-20 lead. After a kill by Brianna Amian and a lift call against Herring, the Menehune were within 23-22.
On the ensuing Moanalua serve, the pass to setter Kealohilani Kea went too high, but she adjusted and dunked the ball with her left hand. The ball landed in the middle of the floor and the Warriors led 24-22.
"It wasn't too high," Kea said. "That was a spur-of-the-moment thing. The passes were there the whole night."
Moanalua coach Thomas Lake credited the Warrior setter.
"Kea has ice water in her veins. She went up really high, over our blocker," he said.
Herring then combined with middle blocker Alex Akana to block Kaleinani Kabalis for the final point of the match.
Kea, a senior who will sign with Pepperdine this weekend, finished with a match-high 33 assists. She also had three kills, an ace and a block.
Amian had 12 kills and two roofs, while Kabalis amassed 10 kills, three assists and two aces to go along with a multitude of digs for Moanalua (15-3). Senior Melanie Manutai added nine kills and sophomore Deena DelaCruz had 22 assists for the Menehune, who will play Roosevelt in the third-place match at 4:30 p.m.
After losing the opening set, Moanalua's schemes took hold in Game 2. Many of Kamehameha's attempts were dug by Moanalua's resilient Alia Calicdan, and the Menehune's block kept up with the talented, towering Warriors.
"Everyone knows, winning a state championship means you go through Kamehameha. Everything we did this season was to prepare for Kamehameha," Lake said. "It might not have worked so well against Roosevelt, but we knew we had to do that."
The Warriors were within 12-11 after an ace by Bekah Torres, but Moanalua went on a 7-2 run and won going away.
"The kids are cagey enough to handle the adjustments. Moanalua played well and did the right things," Blake said of the second game. "We were making little adjustments and we weren't all on the same page. Game 3, we took it as 0-0 and started over."