Renshaw has Kamehameha set for playoffs


POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kamehameha girls volleyball coach Chris Blake knows his team needs sophomore setter Kelci Renshaw on the court for the defending Division I state champions to be successful this postseason.

Renshaw rolled her right ankle when she stepped on a coach's foot during warm-ups for the Hawaii Baptist meeting on Sept. 29. Renshaw missed that match, and Kamehameha lost. Two days later, against top-ranked Punahou, Renshaw split time at setter with senior Breyandi Andrade as Blake substituted to keep his setters only in the back row and always have three front-row attackers. But Kamehameha lost that match, too.

And so on Friday night, after scrambling with two setters and outlasting fourth-ranked 'Iolani in the first game of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular-season finale, Blake decided it was Renshaw or bust. He nixed the two-setter approach in the final two games, and the second-ranked Warriors pulled out a gritty 26-24, 25-27, 25-22 victory to help erase the sting of those two losses and gain some momentum heading into this week's ILH playoffs.

; “;In looking what she does for us, she allows us to run a little bit more of our offense,”; Blake said of Renshaw after Friday night's win. “;Our other setters who have stepped in when she got hurt have been doing a pretty good job of it, but it allows us the flexibility to do a lot more to get our hitters in good position. Our players did a great job of getting her the ball, and our team pulled out a tough game.”;

Kamehameha improved to 15-2 overall, while 'Iolani fell to 14-3. The Raiders' other regular-season losses were to Punahou, which finished with a perfect record, and Word of Life.

With Renshaw feeling no ill effects from the right ankle, she directed Kamehameha's high-powered offense all night long. The Warriors hitters pounded 44 kills against 'Iolani, including 16 in the deciding third set.

Junior Talia Jardin-Fermentez led all hitters with 12 kills. Sophomore Misty Ma'a added 11 kills and Taylor Akana pitched in with 10 kills.

'Iolani seniors Alissa Youart and Mahina Haina each had 11 kills. But the team's own mistakes — 14 hitting errors (versus its 29 kills) and seven service errors (with only two aces) — thwarted any chance of an upset, though its perseverance throughout the match gave coach Jenic Tumaneng reason for optimism.

On the other side of the net, the success of Kamehameha middle hitters Jardin-Fermentez and Nicole Sniffen (six kills) merely underscored Renshaw's importance to the team. With Renshaw on the court, the Warriors' offense simply runs that much smoother, and the all-important timing with the middle hitters on the quick sets is just so much better.

“;She did a great job coming back and recovering from her injury,”; Akana said. “;Tonight she worked really hard and kept us all in system.”;

Who knows what Kamehameha's record might be if Renshaw had been healthy for those two losses. You have to believe that her setting and her rapport with the hitters would have been worth at least a few extra points per game. That, of course, is a moot argument. But with Renshaw setting up her big hitters, the team's confidence is growing despite its struggles while she was hurt.

The Warriors couldn't have scripted a better way to enter the postseason than with a win like the one the defending state champs earned on Friday night.

“;We just wanted to make our statement,”; Akana said, “;and get back and show everyone we're not done yet, that we'll be back.”;