Iolani takes care of business; Kamehameha succeeds on road
Coming off a league championship and an automatic state-tournament berth, the Iolani Raiders have one goal accomplished.
The Raiders also collected all nine first-place votes and remained No. 1 in the Star-Bulletin Girls Volleyball Top 10 today. Winning the Interscholastic League of Honolulu first-round title also brings a bye through the league's second-round tournament.
Kamehameha remained No. 2, but came really close to knocking off the nation's top-ranked team over the weekend. Kamehameha reached the semifinals of the prestigious Durango Fall Tournament in Las Vegas. The Warriors swept every foe until the semis, but lost to No. 1 Assumption (Ky.).
Kamehameha, led by all-tournament players Kanani Herring and Bekah Torres, went on to win the third-place match. California powerhouse Mira Costa topped Assumption for the title.
"Definitely, talking to the coaches and even a couple of people said Assumption played their best match of the season," Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said. "Our girls played well."
Assumption's Kaitlynn James, one of the top recruits in the country, will play for Nebraska next season.
The Warriors may have been off island, but they were anxious to hear some news. Before they left Honolulu, they were still just one win behind front-running Iolani.
"We had our ear to the ground, trying to find out about the Iolani-Punahou match. We were going out to dinner when we got the call that Iolani won in three," Blake said.
Had Iolani fallen to Punahou, a three-way tie for first place would've made for a busy week. Between tiebreaker matches and the start of the league's second round, the Warriors would've been stretched.
"The silver lining is, if Punahou had won, we'd be playing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Plus the quarter ends on Wednesday," Blake said. "They're getting pummeled."
The team returned from Las Vegas by 11 p.m. Hawaii time yesterday.
"It was seven long hours on the plane, and they went to school this morning," Blake noted. "As a coach, don't get me wrong, we played well. Our girls are gonna take a lot from the tournament. It brought us together both on and off the court. We also know we can play better."
Kamehameha is ranked ninth nationally by PrepVolleyball.com. Iolani is 33rd.