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Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, November 10, 2000

H A W A I I _P R E P _ S P O R T S

ILH volleyball
powers await Kalaheo

Mustangs advance to the
state boys' semifinals; St. Francis,
Punahou among girls' winners

By Tim Crouse
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Kalaheo boys' volleyball coach Mel Furtado says he expects perfection from his team.

He admits that may be asking too much, but the Mustangs may need to be perfect to get by Punahou, and then possibly Kamehameha, within a few hours of each other today in the final two rounds of the state volleyball championships.

Unbeaten Kalaheo needed just 45 minutes to defeat Kealakehe, 15-9, 15-3, in the quarterfinals yesterday -- but top-seeded Kamehameha and six-time defending state champion Punahou won their matches in the same dominant fashion.

Pearl City defeated Roosevelt, 15-7, 15-8, in the other boys' quarterfinal match.

The semifinals and finals of the boys' and girls' state tournament are today at the Stan Sheriff Center -- with the boys' championship match set for 6:35 p.m. and the girls' at 8 p.m.

Semifinal action starts at noon.

St. Francis ended Kauai's dream season in girls' action yesterday, winning 15-2, 15-9, and faces unbeaten Hilo in the semis.

Moanalua rolled past McKinley, 15-7, 15-4, and Punahou picked apart Radford, 15-2, 15-8, in the other girls' games.

Kauai reached the states for the first time ever after winning the Kauai Interscholastic Federation title -- ending a 26-year run of dominance by Waimea.

"The girls did a great job of representing their island," Kauai coach Richard Roberts said.

Kim Downing, one of five Kauai seniors, said participating in the tournament should have a big impact on the team's nine juniors.

"I think it paved the road for the juniors. We opened a door for the other girls and hopefully next year they'll knock it down," Downing said.

St. Francis got a big performance from senior outside hitter Kalae Araujo, who finished with six kills, two blocks and an ace in the short match.

"This is what counts and you want to play your best here," Araujo said. "We're just having fun."

Waiakea stayed close to Hilo in the first game, but the Vikings put the Warriors away, 15-11, 15-6.

"We need to stay focused on communicating," said Hilo coach Carla Carpenter-Kabalis. "And we really work hard on blocking, so we need to make sure we have a great wall up there to defend our court."

Hilo's block will be tested by St. Francis' offense, which attacks from the middle with Elizabeth Narkon and on the outside with Kim Tano and Araujo.

Moanalua, which has gotten consistent play from Kahala Kabalis and Naomi Edgell, will try to find a way to slow down a Punahou attack that has looked invincible.

With senior setter Milia Macfarlane passing all over the court to Michelle Look, Melissa Wilton and Puna Richardson, the Buffanblu have simply run over their three opponents, winning games by an average score of 15-6.

Macfarlane, who was on last year's team that lost in the championship match, said the best thing she can do for her team is just be in her place.

"Right now, I think the thing I can offer to the team is following through with my role, as everyone else follows through with theirs," she said.

The role that Kalaheo's Kaimi Guerreiro has assumed this season for the Mustangs is that of team leader.

But for Kalaheo to be able to take down Punahou and possibly Kamehameha, the Mustangs need balance.

"What we need to do is get good set distribution," Furtado said. "We've got to get three guys into double digits (in kills)."

He said a good example of balance was in Tuesday's match against Hilo, when Guerreiro had 17 kills, Ikaika Francis 14 and Nate Jenkins 7.

Furtado also will look for Nicholas Yeager to come up big again.

"He had a great match tonight," Furtado said after the rout of Kealakehe. "He served the ball aggressively and did a good job swinging on the outside and passing.

"We've got to relieve the number of sets to Kaimi. There's a lot of pressure to be in that position all the time and at the end of a four-day tournament, it takes its toll," he added.

The Punahou boys downed Kauai, 15-1, 15-11, behind a balanced offense.

Kauai senior Mark Rodrigues came up huge in the second game -- with 13 kills -- but it wasn't enough for the Red Raiders.

"We didn't have a good start (in the tournament), but we're starting to put the wheels back on and hopefully we'll be peaking at the right time," said Punahou coach Scott Rigg. "We basically just came into this thing trying to find a way to get into the finals."

The Kalaheo-Punahou winner takes on the winner of the Kamehameha-Pearl City semifinal.

The top-seeded Warriors upended Seabury Hall, 15-8, 15-9. With the season down to one final day, Kamehameha coach Pono Maa is still focused on helping his team improve.

"We're a young team, as far as experience goes," Maa said. "Our biggest focus is just getting better each game and being consistent."

Maa said he stresses to his team that it doesn't matter who was picked to win when the season began or who was ranked high in the polls.

"I asked (the team) if they remembered who was the preseason pick (last year) to win the Super Bowl," Maa said. "None of them could tell me. Then I asked them who won the Super Bowl, and every single one said the St. Louis Rams.

"That's something we use to help them realize the seedings and rankings don't mean much."

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