HHSAA BOYS VOLLEYBALL
Punahou pounds Kalaheo on way to title game
DIVISION I BOYS SEMIFINAL
After back-to-back dominating performances, the undefeated Punahou boys volleyball team looks ready to claim its third consecutive state championship.
Senior Spencer McLachlin hammered nine kills and Erik Shoji and Tim Harrison each added four as the top-seeded Buffanblu needed just 35 minutes to roll past Kalaheo 25-10, 25-9 last night in the semifinals of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball Division I State Championships at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
The Buffanblu (20-0) hit an astounding .743 as they completely outmatched the Mustangs (15-3).
"We just try to get a little better each game," Punahou coach Peter Balding said. "We served them tough and put the pressure on them to go outside."
Kalaheo features a tough pair of middle blockers in Chase Moses and Tyler Caswell, but the duo was held to just six total kills.
Punahou had 26 kills, compared to just 12 for the Mustangs, and outblocked them 6-1.
"Everything was clicking tonight," McLachlin said. "We were well prepared and our combination of serving and passing was maybe the best it has been all year."
The hitting wasn't bad either, led by McLachlin, whose nine kills came on just 12 attempts without an error. He was also in on three blocks and put down the game's final point.
"As coaches, we're just waiting for Spencer to graduate," Kalaheo coach Gavin Cook said. "We live and die by our middles, and they keyed on that and shut us down."
Kalaheo opened the game by scoring three of the first four points, but from that point on, the Buffanblu controlled the match. Senior Max Halvorson was in on three straight blocks at one point in the game, and setter Riley McKibbin continually put the ball in places the Buffanblu could put it down.
"I can't make a bad choice out there right now," McKibbin said. "Everyone is killin' it right now and we're playing well."
Punahou opened the second game by scoring 16 of the first 19 points as Kalaheo began to show signs of frustration. The Mustangs finished hitting .067 for the game, and every time they managed to score a point, they gave it right back with a service error.
"I don't think the score is a true indication of that team," Balding said.
The Buffanblu are one win away from a third straight state championship. Punahou has won 26 of the last 34 state titles, and 31 overall as they look to continue their dominance in boys volleyball.
"We don't want to be known as a complacent team," McKibbin said. "We're looking for a good championship game."
Punahou will face third-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii in tonight's championship match at 7:30 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Mustangs will face No. 2 seed Roosevelt for third place in a rematch of the OIA championship game at 4:30.