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StarBulletin.com

Kamehameha comes through


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POSTED: Sunday, November 01, 2009

Their coach had a simple request at the most clutch moment of the season.

The Kamehameha Warriors responded rather well. Down 14-8 in Game 4 - and down 2-1 in the match, the Warriors rallied for an amazing 22-25, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23, 15-6 win over top-seeded Punahou last night in the Division I final of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships at the Stan Sheriff Center.

After finishing second to Punahou in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Kamehameha (20-3) saw its dynasty grow with a fifth straight state title - all under coach Chris Blake - but this crown may be the sweetest because the Warriors did it with four relatively inexperienced new starters. One of them, middle Talia Jardin-Fermentez, had three of her 13 kills in the final set as the Warriors powered their way to another crown.

Kamehameha senior Taylor Akana, the tourney's most outstanding player, was the steadying factor on the floor as the Warriors rallied.

“;We tried to bring the game back to ourselves. We played with confidence and that changed the match,”; said Akana, who had a team-high 19 kills (.415) and added 21 of her team's 102 digs.

It was also Kamehameha's first win over Punahou this season in three tries. Punahou's perfect record - 21-0 prior to last night - crumbled with a nightmare finish on Halloween night.

“;It was kind of like slow dancing with grenades. I'm disappointed with myself. Clearly, something is missing,”; Punahou coach Jim Iams said. “;We competed hard, but never got into a good, confident flow. All credit goes to Chris and Kamehameha. They always came ready to play. They did a good job.”;

Kamehameha's balanced attack, run through setter Kelci Renshaw (52 assists, 12 digs), included Jardin-Fermentez (13 kills, .333), Misty Ma'a (12 kills, seven digs), Nicole Sniffen (10 kills), Amanda Wasko (nine kills, nine digs) and libero Chelsey Keoho (38 digs). Cara Rosehill added 11 digs off the bench.

Tai Manu Olevao (24 kills) and Juliana Behrens (20 kills) powered Punahou's attack, but were stymied in the final two sets as Kamehameha's block took aim on the outside hitters. Brigitte Russo (nine kills) and Carina Thompson (six) were highly effective early on, but Thompson left with a leg injury and returned late in the match with a heavily taped thigh, unable to get the same lift.

Kamehameha's turnaround began in the fourth set following a frantic finish to the third. Punahou, which had a killer instinct all season, found the young Warriors on a warpath in the fourth. Akana, their senior leader, had six kills in the fourth as the Warriors tied the match at 2-all despite trailing 14-8.

“;Coach told us to play our best volleyball of the season,”; Akana said of her team's timeout.

Then came the fifth set, dominated by Kamehameha. Sniffen had a kill and a block as the Warriors quickly took a 5-1 lead. Punahou responded with two points in a row, but got no closer. Wasko and Ma'a pounded kills as Kamehameha opened a 9-3 advantage, and after Jardin-Fermentez added two more blocks, the Warriors had a 13-4 lead en route to victory.

Akana beamed as the Warriors celebrated after the match.

“;I feel so proud of this team. It's been a long road and we worked so hard in and out of practice,”; she said. “;This is so amazing to me.”;

KAMEHAMEHA DEF. PUNAHOU
22-25, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23, 15-6

WARRIORS (20-3, 4-0 HHSAA)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
  SKEATT PCTDBSBA
Ma'a512546.152706
Sniffen510429.207318
Renshaw5306.5001202
Wasko59624.125910
Akana519241.4152101
Jardin-Fermentez513233.333005
Keoho5000.0003800
Andrade4000.000100
Rosehill53316.0001101
Laumana41011.000003
Totals57022196.245102226

BUFFANBLU (21-1, 2-1 HHSAA)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
 SKEATT PCTDBSBA
Williams5001.0001600
Patterson5214.2501400
Russo59524.167203
Santi55116.2501101
Manu-Olevao5241083.169302
Thompson56322.136212
Lee3000.000100
Behrens5201371.099301
McCready2000.000200Brooks5000.0002100
Inouye5000.0001000
Higgins3001.000101
Te'o11011.000000
Totals56733223.15286110

Key - s: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists

Aces - Kamehameha (2): Nicole Sniffen, Kelci Renshaw. Punahou (6): Lahela Williams 2, Brigitte Russo 2, Rachel Inouye 2. Service Errors - Kamehameha (3): Renshaw 2, Amanda Wasko. Punahou (6): Russo 2, Tayler Higgins 2, Inouye, Katherine Brooks. Assists - Kamehameha (67): Renshaw 52, Breyandi Andrade 9, Misty Ma'a 2, Taylor Akana, Talia Jardin-Fermentez, Chelsey Keoho, Wasko. Punahou (62): Malia Patterson 48, Ali Santi 5, Shannan McCready 5, Williams 2, Juliana Behrens, Brooks.

T - 2:20 Officials - Dan Hironaka, Jesse Rodriguez. A - 2,253.