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Punahou, Kamehameha in final


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POSTED: Saturday, May 16, 2009

After Thursday's quarterfinal rout over Leilehua, Punahou junior hitter Henry Cassiday conceded it was hard to keep focus during such an easy win.

Well, the Buffanblu boys volleyball team got an early wake-up call last night from a lively Kamehameha-Hawaii squad in the HHSAA state semifinals.

With a marked difference in intensity from the first serve on, the Warriors got under Punahou's skin on the fourth point when senior Kaahu Leite-Ah Yo won a joust at the net and made a celebratory motion across his neck, as if to say that the Buffanblu could expect that all night long.

For a while, KS-Hawaii made good on Leite-Ah Yo's taunt. But Punahou used its depth, talent, power and anger toward Leite-Ah Yo's insult to turn the match into a runaway as the Buffanblu advanced to the Division I state championship game with a 25-23, 25-10, 25-15 victory at McKinley High School.

“;When anyone looks through the net like that, that just pisses us off,”; Cassiday said. “;We're a team that plays better when we're mad.”;

With the win, Punahou advances to today's Division I state championship game at McKinley High School at 7 p.m. The top-seeded Buffanblu (19-1) will play Kamehameha for their 28th state title.

Punahou had to work for last night's win, though. In the first set, as the intensity grew and the McKinley crowd rooted more for the Big Island school than the local school, the Buffanblu found themselves uncharacteristically struggling.

Star hitter Maddison McKibbin, who is headed to USC to play volleyball next season, was stuffed twice and committed four hitting errors. Sophomore Joshua Taylor, with his 6-foot-7 frame towering over opponents, was stuffed twice.

Kamehameha-Hawaii stuffed Punahou seven times in the first set, including a one-on-one roof block that made the score 24-23.

But the Buffanblu came out on top with a McKibbin kill (he finished with 11), and despite some wobbles in the third set, cruised in the final two games to a relatively easy victory.

“;We expected them to come out quick,”; said Punahou coach Rick Tune. “;They're a feisty team. They're an emotional team. We didn't expect to get in here and walk through them. These guys are a good team.”;

Punahou's celebration in making the title game was tempered, though, after a gruesome injury to junior middle hitter Jared Altenhof. Early in the third set, Altenhof fell awkwardly after a fake and broke his left tibia and fibula, Tune said. The injury delayed the game about 15 minutes and put a bit of a pall on the rest of the action. Altenhof, a season-long starter, finished with four kills.

“;We have a lot of empathy for Jared,”; Tune said after the match. “;We know that he wants to be a part of this, on the court with us. It's unfortunate he's not going to get to be. But at the same token, it's not going to affect the way we play. We have guys who have stepped into those roles all year long. It's going to be no different.”;

Even without Altenhof, Punahou is the heavy favorite entering tonight's championship game, according to Warriors coach Tom Poy.

“;With the amount of weapons that (the Buffanblu) have, for someone to beat them this year, they've got to play excellent ball and everything's just got to be going their way,”; Poy said. “;I really don't see it happening. We tried.”;

And Punahou has some extra motivation for this year's title. The loss of last year's championship to 'Iolani is still a fresh memory for most of the Buffanblu squad.

“;We were in the championship last year,”; said sophomore middle hitter Benjamin Lam, “;and we're really hungry to bring it home.”;

Kamehameha 3, Roosevelt 0

Micah Christenson put down nine kills and Daylan Chock dished out 29 assists as the Warriors swept the Rough Riders 25-18, 25-15, 25-20 to reach tonight's championship game.

Alanlu Frantz and Nolan Carter helped Kamehameha dominate, combining to put down 15 kills on 19 attempts.

Roosevelt hit just .188 against Kamehameha after upsetting 'Iolani on Thursday. Kenneth Rewick led the OIA champions with 11 kills on 31 attempts. The Warriors outblocked the Rough Riders 7-2 and hit .403.

Division I Consolation

Kamehameha-Maui def. Leilehua 25-14, 16-25, 15-11

Kill leadersKSM: Keanu Kaaa 9; Kekoa Mountcastle 7. Lei: Malakai Keola 5.

'Iolani def. Waiakea 27-25, 25-23

Kill leadersIol: Nick Christman 8; Taylor Donovan 7. Waia: Clayton Morante Jr. 6; Mitchel Shintani 5; Brady Smith 5.

Division II

Hawaii Baptist 3, Moanalua 0

Ryan Leung exploded for 24 kills and the Eagles rolled up Na Menehune 25-18, 25-15, 28-26.

Branden Kaneshiro added 10 kills for top-seeded Hawaii Baptist, which plays in the title game today. Justin Oka had 13 digs for the Eagles and Chris Matsui contributed 12.

Shane Aquino led Moanalua with eight kills.

Hilo 3, Seabury Hall 2

Kaulana Kalauli had 28 kills and the Vikings reached the championship game by outlasting the Spartans 25-22, 21-25, 17-25, 25-15, 15-12.

Andrew Welsh had 12 kills for Hilo and Siaki Moana Faleta added eight.

Rocky DeLyon and Josh Chapple each had 12 kills for Seabury Hall.

Consolation

Waimea def. Kohala 25-23, 19-25, 18-16

Kill leadersWaim: Keaka Canute 13; David Kauhelaulii 8. Koh: Ulana Sylva 9; Jeffery Medeiros 8; Kelson Kawai 8.

Pahoa def. Waipahu 25-13, 25-18

Kill leadersPah: Isaiah Ekau 15; Jonathan Viernes 4. Waip: Anthony Agustin 3; Iyama Kira Faatafa 3; Duketoa Tili 3; Regan Prestidge 3.