HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kanani Herring of Kamehameha slammed the ball over for one of her 12 kills as the Warriors captured the Ann Kang Invitational with a 25-19, 25-22 win over Redondo Union (Calif.).
Warriors prevail in Kang
The year of the Warrior could go nationwide.
Kamehameha, buoyed by a plethora of weaponry, swept Redondo Union (Calif.) 25-19, 25-22 to capture the 25th Annual Ann Kang Invitational championship last night at Iolani School gym.
The Warriors, ranked No. 5 by PrepVolleyball.com, got 12 kills each from Kanani Herring and Bekah Torres, while Jordan Meredith's stealth serving provided extra fuel. Kamehameha dropped only one game in the four-day tournament, which began with pool play on Wednesday.
"They put us in bad spots and served us tough, but this was a great team effort, not just one player," Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said, noting the play of role players like Taylor Akana, Ashley Williams and Alex Akana, who finished with five kills.
"Jordan had a great serve for us," he added. Meredith added seven kills.
Redondo, ranked No. 17 in the nation, was the only team to steal a game from the Warriors, pushing the two-time defending Hawaii state champions to three games in a match earlier yesterday.
In the final, however, the visiting Seahawks got outstanding serves and still couldn't overcome Kamehameha's balanced attack. Megan Saraceno led the Seahawks with five kills.
The Warriors never trailed in the opening game, but were tied at 9 before going on a 12-5 blitz. Torres, a 5-foot-10 senior, had seven kills as the Warriors finished strong.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha's Bekah Torres beat Redondo Union defender Taylor Moore for a kill last night.
Redondo Union got five service aces in Game 2 -- two from Jessica Doerner, two from Taylor Moore and one from Jessica Kalama -- to knock the Warriors back on the ropes. The set was tied at 19 when Meredith got a kill from the right side, and Torres followed with a clean step-out kill.
Herring pounded eight kills in Game 2, including two down the stretch as Kamehameha won going away.
"I think we had a lot of heart," Seahawks coach Tom Caffins said. "Their big gun was extremely terminal and stepped up her game. Twenty-three (Herring) is the best player in the gym and she just took over. The setter did a nice job finding her."
Redondo Union, the California Interscholastic Federation 1-AA champion last year, is senior heavy and could easily capture another CIF title trophy.
"Playing in this phenomenal tournament definitely gives us an advantage when we go home," Caffins said.
It was Kamehameha's first invitation to the tournament in recent history, which made the experience more memorable for seniors like Torres.
"It was really exciting. As a team, this is a good starting point for us," Torres said, crediting new setter Caitlin Andrade, who stepped in for All-State first-team pick Kealohilani Kea, now at Pepperdine.
"(Caitlin) is stepping up and putting out her game," Torres said.
Herring, who recently returned from Junior Olympic competition in Mexico, is glad to be home.
"Our team did a great job. We try to go with no more than giving up two points in a row," she said.
Kamehameha will play in its annual tournament, co-hosting with Punahou, starting on Thursday. In October, the Warriors will play in the prestigious Durango tournament in Las Vegas.
Ann Kang Invitational
Kamehameha def. Santa Barbara 25-22, 25-22
Redondo def. Iolani A 25-11, 25-18
Corona Del Mar def. Santa Barbara 25-24, 25-10
Iolani A def. Punahou 25-24, 21-25, 25-20
Santa Barbara def. Iolani A 25-20, 23-24, 25-23
Kamehameha def. Redondo 23-25, 25-15, 25-18
Redondo def. Santa Barbara 24-16, 25-24
Kamehameha def. Redondo 25-19, 25-22
Sacred Hearts def. Waianae 25-21, 26-24
Oxnard tied Molokai 25-14, 22-25
Molokai def. Waianae 25-20, 25-21
Sacred Hearts def. Oxnard 25-23, 25-15
Marlborough def. La Canada 25-23, 25-19
Kauai def. Iolani B 25-23, 25-16
La Canada def. Iolani B 25-23, 25-16
Marlborough tied Kauai 17-25, 25-20
La Canada def. Kauai 25-19, 25-21
Iolani B tied Marlborough 18-25, 25-24