HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kamehameha's Jordan Meredith put down a kill past Iolani's I'ishah Keliikoa yesterday in the ILH tournament.
Kamehameha extends ILH tournament
A single point defined Kamehameha's will to force one last game for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship.
The No. 2 Warriors rallied behind a spectacular play by seniors Kanani Herring and Cassidee Young late in Game 1 to defeat top-ranked and previously unbeaten Iolani 25-21, 25-18 in the ILH tournament title game yesterday at Kekuhaupio Gym.
Because the Raiders (16-1) won the first half of the ILH season, and the Warriors (18-1) are now considered the second-half champions, they will play a winner-take-all match at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Iolani. Both teams previously qualified for the state tournament on the Big Island, but the winner will claim the ILH's seed.
Herring had a team-high seven kills, while Jordan Meredith added six and Alex Akana five. Middle blocker Bekah Torres was in on five blocks, and setter Caitlin Andrade had three kills, three blocks and 16 assists.
"I was just proud of everybody putting all their guts together," said Herring, the two-time Star-Bulletin state player of the year for the two-time state champion Warriors. "We have one more chance now to go for No. 1, and we weren't ready to lose now."
With Kamehameha up 23-21 after 11 ties in Game 1, Andrade got a hand on a well-hit Raider spike at the net. Herring chased the ball down well beyond the service line and dug the ball straight up into the gym's rafters. Young, in on the pursuit, positioned herself superbly underneath -- after the ball ricocheted off a curtain
from about 70 feet from the net. Her improbable return against the stunned Raiders, who were unable to handle the incoming ball, granted the Warriors game point. The Kamehameha home crowd gave a roar of appreciation for the hustle.
"If we get a rundown play somebody always has to be there to back them up," Young said with a grin. "I just happened to be that person. Any of us would have done it. It was a really nice up by Kanani, so I was like, 'use all my strength to just get it over.'"
Coach Chris Blake said they might have to name the spot where the ball hit the rafters after Young, the team's libero.
"That's the never-say-die attitude that our girls have," he said, before contemplating the upcoming rematch. "We know that Iolani's going to make their adjustments and take care of business with the game on Tuesday."
That game plan will surely revolve around Leinani Keanini, who was lethal in Game 1 (seven of her 11 kills). But Kamehameha improved their net spacing and serves in Game 2, and combined with the adrenaline and momentum from their signature point, raced to a 4-0 lead. Keanini tacked on three kills from the left side, but Torres got involved with two blocks and two kills to help put the Warriors up 19-8. They never trailed in the second set.
"I told them just stop looking at the scoreboard and just play, and stop thinking we had to get a bunch of points at one time," coach Jenic Tumaneng said. "(For Tuesday) we just have to go back to execution, doing what we do best."
Hawaii Baptist beat Word of Life 27-25, 25-19 to earn the league's top spot in the Division II state tournament.
Word of Life is the ILH's second team in and University beat Hanalani 25-22, 25-19 to take the final spot.