'Madd' made intensity work


POSTED: Sunday, June 21, 2009
This story has been corrected.  See below.

There is more than one definition of someone who is mad.

Maddison McKibbin gets mad love from teammates, coaches and volleyball fans, and he may even play like he's got a bit of fire in his soul. Yet, the Punahou senior brings an equal dose of focus to his intensity, both on offense and defense. Oh, that defense. It was a key factor—perhaps the biggest—in an airtight Punahou defense that overcame the hot Kamehameha Warriors in the Division I state final.

For that, coaches and media voted McKibbin, who had nine kills, 10 assists and 10 digs in the state final, as the Star-Bulletin Boys Volleyball All-State player of the year.

“;Last year's loss to 'Iolani (in the state final) is what made Maddison a better player,”; Kamehameha coach Guy Kaniho said. “;I think he had something to prove and he proved it, all right, from serving to blocking to hitting to setting.”;

Punahou (20-1) finished No. 2 in the ESPN RISE Volleyball Fab 50 national rankings. McKibbin, a 6-foot-6 opposite, used his hops and anticipation to help Punahou put a lid on Kamehameha's super sophomore, Micah Christenson, in the state final. A great scouting report and cohesive defensive execution were the pillars, and McKibbin brought the energy to shadow Christenson. McKibbin, who joins his older brother Riley at USC next season, also brought a renewed strength.

“;I think everybody has that intensity level,”; Punahou coach Rick Tune said. “;It's just a matter of how long you sustain it. Three points? Ten points? Two sets? Can you sustain it for a match? Does it carry over to weight training? Your studies?

“;Madd's learned a lot the last couple of years. Because he got into USC, he saw how focused and intense they are. He knew he had to make the jump,”; Tune said. “;Floor defense for Madd helped us become a scrappy team by the end of the season.”;

McKibbin outpointed teammate Taylor Crabb, a 6-2 setter, for the top honor.

“;He's so crafty,”; Kaniho said. “;He's one of the few players in the state who is always in rhythm when he plays. That's what makes it more frustrating. He makes it almost effortless when he sets, when he swings, when he's in transition.”;

Christenson, a 6-5 hitter, finished third in the Fab 15 voting. Another sophomore, 6-7 Joshua Taylor of Punahou, was fourth. Kamehameha-Hawaii's versatile senior, Chandler Kaaa, and Roosevelt setter Joby Ramos were also in the first six.

Kaaa, at 6-4, was primarily an outside hitter for the Warriors during the regular season, but saw more time at setter in the state tourney. Ramos, a 6-1 junior, will be one of eight Fab 15 players who will return next season. With Ramos at the steering wheel, Roosevelt won the Oahu Interscholastic Association crown and reached the state semifinals.

Ryan Leung, a 6-4 junior, was No. 7 in the voting after helping Hawaii Baptist to its best season in boys volleyball. The Eagles lost to only one team in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular season—Punahou—and won their second Division II state title in a row.

Coach of the year honors went to Tune, whose unique approach to practice and matches are original, to say the least. Most of all, though, the former Hawaii Warrior standout has a contagious competitive drive.

“;He can't lose,”; said Punahou junior Henry Cassiday, one of four Buffanblu named to the Fab 15. “;He'll compete with fourth graders in foursquare outside his office.”;

Taylor reached his peak at season's end, right in time for the tourney.

“;He was always steady,”; he said of Tune. “;He always let us know that even with us being good, we can get better.”;

Crabb agreed.

“;Everything we do, there has to be a winner and a loser,”; he said.

Roosevelt's Kaui Mendonca, HBA's Teoni Obrey, Hoku Harvest of Hilo, Doug Hee of Moanalua and Kaniho also received votes for coach of the year. HBA finished No. 6 in the ESPN rankings. Kamehameha (No. 11) and Roosevelt (No. 13) were also ranked.






» An incorrect photograph of Kaulana Kalauli-Rowe ran on Page 84 yesterday with a feature on the All-State volleyball team.