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Kamehameha fights back to defeat MPI


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 01, 2009

With four new starters, it would be easy for the Kamehameha Warriors to call this a transition year.

Nobody else seems to notice, though. Mid-Pacific brought its best effort of the year, but it wasn't quite enough in Kamehameha's 23-25, 25-19, 25-20 win last night at Mills Gym.

The four-time defending state champions improved to 3-0 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, but got a bigger fight from the Owls than they saw just days ago. Kamehameha and MPI met in the Hawaii Invitational, where the Warriors won in pool play 25-17, 25-12.

It was a moral victory the Owls are happy to have.

“;I heard it's been nine years or so that we haven't won a set against them,”; said senior libero Michi Tamashiro, now in her third season on the varsity. “;I'm not sure, but I know we haven't won (a set) in a long time. That was really exciting. A lot of our girls had doubts, but this shows we can play with the bigger teams.”;

This time, the Warriors were pushed to the edge, but got a superb performance from Misty Ma'a, who had 13 kills and hit .632 with just one hitting error. The 6-foot-1 sophomore had six of her kills in the crucial third set, helping Kamehameha take a 16-11 lead.

Mid-Pac bounced back with kills by Leiokanani Todd and an ace by Kaili Ayers, and another spectacular dig by Tamashiro helped tie the game at 16-all.

A kill over the middle by Talia Jardin-Fermantez put Kamehameha ahead again, and the Warriors never trailed the rest of the way. Cara Rosehill came through with four kills in the final set, including two that helped Kamehameha win going away.

“;Everybody plays their best match against us. That's something we expect,”; Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said. “;Punahou. Kahuku. Moanalua. Now Mid-Pacific.”;

MPI coach Matt Galacia agreed.

“;Yes, it was our most exciting match. We did an excellent job. It's still a work in progress, but this shows that we can play with elite teams,”; the second-year coach said.

Kelly Nakandakari led the Owls (0-1) with 13 kills.

“;No. 8 (Nakandakari) played out of her mind tonight,”; Blake said.

Todd had seven kills and Ayers tallied six kills and three of her team's five aces. Ayers' jump serve, a wicked cutter with the break of a baseball slider, had Kamehameha on its heels often.

Taylor Yamamoto delivered 30 assists and an ace for MPI.

Nicole Sniffen had 11 kills, while Rosehill and Jardin-Fermentez had seven each. Sophomore Kelci Renshaw finished with 41 assists and an ace. Rosehill had 14 digs and libero Chelsey Keoho added 13.