Monday, November 6, 2000
There are enough story lines in this week's boys' and girls' state volleyball tournaments to satisfy just about any fan.
Fans will dig state
By Tim Crouse
Special to the Star-Bulletin
There is a team with great tradition -- the Punahou boys -- seeking to add one more chapter to a dynasty; if the Buffanblu win a seventh consecutive state title, it will be 19 of the past 21.
There is a new champion -- the Kalaheo boys won the Oahu Interscholastic Association title for the first time -- trying to prove that it belongs.
And there is a surprising contender from a school that has never before sent a team to a state tournament -- St. Francis -- hoping to make some waves under a first-year coach.
While there are no certainties for the boys as the 32nd annual state tournament begins tomorrow, one thing is sure for the girls: there will be a new champion for the first time in four years.
Three-time defending champion Kamehameha didn't qualify for the tournament.
Instead, a St. Francis team under first-year coach Sean Maskell used an early-season win against Kamehameha to spark a 10-1 start, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu first round championship and a berth in states.
"We're not really supposed to be here," Troubadours coach Sean Maskell said. "We are very fortunate. It was always a goal to get here, but we're underdogs.
"We're more excited than nervous. Since we're the underdogs, we have nothing to lose," said Maskell, whose team is led by middle Elizabeth Narkon.
St. Francis lost to Punahou in the ILH title match last week, and three of its four losses were to the Buffanblu -- who feature one of the top setters in the state, Milia Macfarlane, and powerful hitters Michelle Look and Puna Richardson.
Punahou is one of the hottest teams in the state heading into the tournament. The Buffanblu swept through the second round, winning all 15 games against the five best teams in the league.
All four Oahu Interscholastic Association participants pulled off upsets in the OIA Tournament quarterfinals to advance to states.
McKinley knocked off previously unbeaten Aiea and Waianae ousted two-time defending league champion Farrington. Behind the solid play of Naomi Edgell and Kahala Kabalis, Moanalua won the tournament to claim the third seed.
Hilo blew through the Big Island Interscholastic Federation -- and is one of just two tournament teams with perfect regular season records. Melanie Chong, Dessari Olevao and Chasitie Brown all came up big for the Vikings.
The Kauai girls make their tournament debut after an unbeaten Kauai Interscholastic Federation season. The team dropped just one game all season, behind a front line featuring Kim Downing, Misty Hug and Tiana Lum-Tucker.
The Kamehameha boys outdueled Punahou on Saturday to win the ILH title and secure the top seed. Isaac Kneubuhl, Bryson Metz and Ricky Estrada all had double-digit kills for the Warriors, who beat the Buffanblu three out of four meetings this season.
The six-time defending champs are led by Will Reppun and Mike Harada.
Kalaheo ended Pearl City's streak of OIA titles at two, taking the championship on Saturday in straight sets. Senior Kaimi Guerriero, perhaps the best player in the state, leads a talented and tall, group of Mustangs. Ikaika Francis and Nicholas Yeager play big roles for the OIA champs.
Kealakehe makes its tournament debut, in the school's third year of existence.
Waiakea battled through an undefeated BIIF season, with help from Ryan Hanohano, David Hotniansky and Taurean Paakaula.
Kauai makes its third straight trip to states, led by setter Matt Miguel and outside hitter Mark Rodrigues.
The boys play at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on the Punahou campus tomorrow, and shift to the Stan Sheriff Center Wednesday.
The girls play tomorrow at the Stan Sheriff Center, and Wednesday at Hemmeter.
The quarterfinals on Thursday and semis and finals on Friday are at the Stan Sheriff Center for both.