RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Punahou's Anuhea Keanini, right, and Kamehameha's Caitlin Andrade battled at the net in during last night's match.
Kamehameha wraps up state tourney berth
The next chapter in the quest for a Kamehameha three-peat has begun.
Outside hitter Kanani Herring slammed home 13 kills and Bekah Torres and Jordan Meredith added seven apiece to lead No. 2 Kamehameha over No. 3 Punahou in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu tournament semifinals, 25-17, 25-17 last night at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
The Warriors earned a New City Nissan/HHSAA State Championships berth in the process.
Coach Chris Blake was satisfied with locking up the second of the ILH's three berths, but wants to make sure Kamehameha (17-1 ILH) earns the best possible seed for a crack at a third straight state title.
That means besting top-ranked and unbeaten Iolani tomorrow in the ILH tournament final, for a potential overall ILH championship next week with the top seed on the line.
"We'll take (the berth)," Blake said. "Punahou's a pretty great team, and we played a good match. For us to come out with a win today, it's great for us and we got another match. We want to make sure we keep on playing and go where we want to go."
Anuhea Keanini led the Buffanblu (15-3) with nine kills and two aces, but was contained by the Warrior defense for stretches of Game 2 as they rallied from a 9-5 deficit to a 12-9 advantage behind the serves of Meredith.
"It's one of those things that when we were on, we were able to stay with them," Punahou coach Jim Iams said. "We just had too many lapses."
Kamehameha went with a dual-setter alignment with junior Caitlin Andrade the top priority for passes (21 assists), and senior Tatiana Santiago (three) a dangerous second option at hitter when Andrade dug a ball or was tied up.
Herring and Meredith were prepared for the tactic.
"We're so used to that at practice," Herring said. "We work on those things on the off plays, on plays, so we're ready for anything."
"We work really hard switching and working with both," added Meredith. "I've learned to adjust and work with both setters."
In Game 1, Herring treated the Buffanblu defenders like bumpers in a pinball machine, helping spark a 7-2 run late to help the Warriors notch the first-game win.
In Game 2, Torres put down three kills -- including the match-winner -- to cap a 7-0 run for the team's ticket to the Big Island.
Punahou has two chances against Sacred Hearts Academy to clinch the ILH's final berth.
If the Lancers win the ILH tournament's third-place game tomorrow against the Buffanblu, a tie-breaking rematch for all the marbles will take place on Tuesday.
Girls Division I
Iolani def. Sacred Hearts, 25-7, 25-20
Kamehameha def. Punahou, 25-17, 25-17
Championship match: Iolani at Kamehameha, 1 p.m.
Third-place match: Sacred Hearts at Punahou, 3 p.m.
Girls Division II
Hawaii Baptist def. Hanalani, 25-13, 25-20
Word of Life def. University, 25-22, 25-21
Third-place match: Hanalani vs. University, 4:30 p.m., at Hawaii Baptist
Championship match: Word of Life at Hawaii Baptist, 6 p.m.
Mililani def. Kalani, 16-25, 25-13, 25-14
Kahuku def. Kapolei, 17-25, 25-15, 25-14
Moanalua def. Radford, 25-21, 25-18
Roosevelt def. Kailua, 25-4, 25-15
Oct. 23 semifinals
Mililani vs. Kahuku, at McKinley, 6 p.m.
Moanalua vs. Roosevelt, at McKinley, 7:30 p.m.
Farrington def. Castle, 25-15, 25-19
McKinley def. Kalaheo, 25-20, 29-27
Oct. 24 final
Farrington at McKinley, 6 p.m.