DIVISION I STATE BOYS VOLLEYBALL
Top-seeded Buffanblu rout Lunas
PUKALANI, Maui » Punahou didn't waste any time in showing why it is the top seed in the state boys Division I volleyball tournament and why it is ranked among the top five high school teams in the nation.
1. Punahou; 2. Kamehameha-Hawaii; 3. Waianae; 4. Kamehameha-Maui
King Kekaulike Bracket
Game 5: Punahou def. Lahainaluna 25-3, 25-15
6: Roosevelt def. Kamehameha-Maui 25-18, 25-21
7: Kamehameha def. Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-15, 25-21
8: Iolani def. Waianae 25-18, 25-20
King Kekaulike Bracket
9: Waiakea vs. Kalaheo (consolation), 4 p.m.
11: Lahainaluna vs. Kamehameha-Maui (consolation), 5:30 p.m.
13: Punahou vs. Roosevelt, 7 p.m.
10: Mililani vs. Pearl City (consolation), 4 p.m.
12: Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Waianae (consolation), 5:30 p.m.
14: Kamehameha vs. Iolani, 7 p.m.
At King Kekaulike
15: Consolation championship: Game 9 & 10 winners, 2:30 p.m.
16: Fifth-place game: Game 11 & 12 winners, 4 p.m.
17: Third-place game: Game 13 & 14 losers, 5:30 p.m.
18: Championship: Game 13 & 14 winners, 7 p.m.
1. Hawaii Baptist; 2. Seabury Hall; 3. Hilo; 4. Campbell
Game 5: Pahoa def. Campbell 25-27, 25-12, 25-23
6: Hawaii Baptist def. Honokaa 25-20, 25-17
7: Hilo def. Waimea 25-20, 24-26, 25-23
8: Hawaii Prep def. Seabury Hall 26-24, 25-23
9: Hana vs. Kahuku (consolation), 4:30 p.m.
11: Campbell vs. Honokaa (consolation), 6 p.m.
13: Pahoa vs. Hawaii Baptist, 7:30 p.m.
10: Kaimuki vs. Nanakuli (consolation), 4:30 p.m.
12: Waimea vs. Seabury Hall (consolation), 6 p.m.
14: Hilo vs. Hawaii Prep, 7:30 p.m.
15: Consolation championship: Game 9 & 10 winners, 3 p.m.
16: Fifth-place game: Game 11 & 12 winners, 4:30 p.m.
17: Third-place game: Game 13 & 14 losers, 6 p.m.
18: Championship: Game 13 & 14 winners, 7:30 p.m.
And it didn't take long for Erik Shoji to show why he's headed to Stanford next season, with his coach predicting great things at the next level for the 6-foot-1 senior.
A kill by Kaiwi Crabb gave Punahou a 1-0 lead and Shoji took over from there. He held serve for 14 straight points -- registering nine aces, including seven in a row, over that span -- before Lahainaluna managed its first point of the match.
Shoji's dazzling display sparked Punahou to a 25-3, 25-15 quarterfinal rout of the Lunas yesterday that took only 37 minutes to complete. The Buffanblu played their reserves for the entire second game.
Among the modest crowd at the King Kekaulike gym was Erik's father, best known as University of Hawaii women's volleyball coach Dave Shoji.
The Buffanblu can expect a tougher challenge in today's 7 p.m. semifinal match against Roosevelt at the same venue.
The other semifinal, featuring Kamehameha vs. Iolani will also be at 7 at the neighboring Kamehameha-Maui gym.
As amazing as Shoji's performance may have been for the uninitiated, his coach -- former UH standout Rick Tune -- was hardly surprised.
"Erik is a great player and he's a great server, which is why we have him go first," Tune said. "He can play any position, and he has for us over the years. We have good passers and good hitters, but we are limited as to who can set the ball. That's how he became our setter this season.
"He's actually playing out of position," Tune added. "Erik's a world-class libero. I wouldn't be surprised if he steps right in as starting freshman at Stanford next season and becomes the best libero in the country."
Lahainaluna's top player, senior Paul Salvador, also gave Punahou and Shoji high praise.
"It was like playing against UH or something," Salvador said. "And that Shoji guy is unreal. After his first couple of serves, it was over. When he hits the ball, you don't expect it that fast and you end up making some bad passes."
And don't forget that Shoji has not been devoting his full-time attention to volleyball this season. He's also an accomplished tennis player, finishing third in last week's state doubles competition.
Shoji thinks there are benefits to his cross-training in the area of serving the ball.
"The extension of your arm and body are pretty much the same in the two sports, but the foot movements are different," Shoji said. "I pride myself in serving well and I put a lot of time into that part of the game. But I don't think I've ever had such a long run."
As a result, Punahou easily kept alive its bid for a fourth straight state title and its 27th in the 39-year history of the event.
In another quarterfinal, Kamehameha defeated second-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-15, 25-21.