HHSAA BOYS VOLLEYBALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Andrew Love of Kamehameha-Hawaii put one of his seven kills past Kyle Maki of Roosevelt last night at McKinley.
Big Isle champs in final
DIVISION I BOYS SEMIFINAL
From Konawaena to Ka'u and now to Kamehameha-Hawaii, little has changed for Guy Enriques.
The fiery, energetic coach made winners out of teams at smaller programs, and now he has taken a plethora of talent to the mountain.
Kamehameha-Hawaii, in a nearly flawless performance, swept Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Roosevelt 25-19, 25-16 last night at muggy McKinley Student Council Gym to advance to the final of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships.
Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Kamehameha-Hawaii (16-2) will face top-seeded Punahou for the crown at the Stan Sheriff Center. Match time is 7:30 p.m.
"They're good. Their fundamentals are perfect," Roosevelt coach Kaui Mendonca said. "We squeezed out every drop of potential we could with our team. Maybe it wasn't our best, but that's what playoff volleyball comes down to."
Roosevelt (15-2) will play Kalaheo for third place in a 4:30 p.m. match.
Andrew Love, a 6-foot-1 senior, led a balanced KS-Hawaii attack with seven kills and two blocks. Joshua Walters, a 6-4 senior, added five kills, two roofs and an ace for the Warriors. Chandler Kaaa, a 6-4 sophomore, pounded four kills to go with seven assists and two roofs.
Huaka Kuamoo, a senior, had a team-high 10 assists for the Warriors. Everything Roosevelt tried to do was thwarted by Kamehameha-Hawaii, which did its homework.
"We put in 4 hours of preparation for Roosevelt with video and practice," Enriques said. "We knew every rotation they were gonna go to."
In fact, the Warriors from Kamehameha's Keaau campus spent time practicing at the Kapalama campus, turning reserves into a scout team.
"We had them out on the court wearing the (Roosevelt players') numbers, so our guys knew the strengths and tendencies," Enriques said.
Love was also part of a towering block that stymied the Rough Riders.
"We double-blocked 9 and 16," he said of Uluwehi Keaunui and Kaina Palama.
Keaunui finished with three kills. Palama tallied six, as did teammate Bryce Kozuki.
There were six lead changes before the Warriors got a kill from Love to take an 18-17 lead in Game 1. Palama, a 6-2 senior, tied it one more time with a kill, but Kealoha Kramer took the serve and sparked the Warriors on a 3-0 run, which included two kills by Love.
KS-Hawaii closed out the opening set with four points in a row.
Roosevelt stayed close in Game 2, but Kramer took command again. With the 6-3 junior at serve, the Warriors went on a 6-0 run for a 13-6 lead. With KS-Hawaii's block controlling the net, the lead expanded to 19-8 as the Warriors cruised to victory.
Enriques was reminded of his earlier years at other BIIF schools. Ka'u, in particular, reached its peak with Enriques, a former standout, in charge.
"The intensity level there and here (at Kamehameha-Hawaii) is no different. Just getting kids in a certain state of mind that will give them their best chance to win," he said. "The kids we have now are taller, bigger and stronger."
They also develop in the off-season with Pilipaa Volleyball Club, arguably the best on the Big Island. Waiakea's coach, Ecko Osorio, also coaches Pilipaa, and his team was on hand cheering on their friends on the floor.
Kamehameha-Hawaii made this a goal, Enriques said, four years ago. Now the Warriors are one step away from a possible state title.
"We're gonna play our hearts out," Love said. "Punahou is Punahou. They put out great teams every year, and Spencer (McLachlin) is a great player. If we hold him and we serve tough, we might stand a chance."
Punahou swept KS-Hawaii in a preseason match.
"But we lost close," Enriques said. "That was two months ago. It's a whole new game now."