Kahuku ends ILH’s reign,
reaches final

By Jerry Campany

HILO >> Kahuku is getting pretty good at this business of putting an end to ILH dominance.

Just like the Red Raiders ended St. Louis' run of titles in football in 2000, the Kahuku girls volleyball team broke the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's string of 20 straight state championships by surviving Kamehameha in the semifinals of the Nissan Girls State Volleyball Tournament at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.

The third-seeded Red Raiders beat the Warriors 15-9, 12-15, 15-7, and will meet hometown favorite and No. 1 seed St. Joseph for the state title at 8 p.m today.

Kahuku thrives on emotion and got just enough from a good start and a crowed bandwagon.

Players from Moanalua took a spot behind Kahuku's bench and led the cheers, firing the Red Raiders up enough to reach the state finals -- and ensure that an ILH team will not win the state crown for the first time since 1981.

"It means a lot," Kahuku coach Mona Ah-Hoy said. "The ILH has been totally dominating everything for so long, its nice to get our chance. Hopefully now we will get a little bit of respect."

Iolani, the ILH's second participant in the tournament, was eliminated by Seabury Hall in the quarterfinals.

The Pearl City boys team became the first non-ILH team in 13 years to reach a state boys volleyball final last week, before losing to Kamehameha.

Last night, Kahuku earned Kamehameha's respect, contesting every shot and sending back a harder one. Mona Ale led the Red Raiders in kills with 11, but it was senior Tuli Peters who took the swings when they mattered most.

Peters made a pair of successive errors to allow Kamehameha to end the second game with seven straight points.

She never gave them a chance in the third.

"We gave the second game away," Peters said. "It kinda woke us up and got our confidence back."

Eight of Peters' nine kills came in the third game, including three in the final four plays to seal it and allow players from nearly every Oahu team in the tournament to rush the court and take part in the postgame handshake line. The line became a happy little scrum, with Menehunes hugging Warriors and Iolani players kissing Red Raiders.

Kahuku's confidence grew with each impossible dig by new defensive specialist Alberta Fotu and Seta Latu. The Warriors had not seen their shots returned like that all year.

"They were digging everything," Kamehameha coach Joey Miyashiro said. "Normally, a lot of those balls are going to fall."

Kahuku accomplished the feat with a lineup switch after losing to Moanalua for the OIA championship. Ah-Hoy knew that she would have to contend with hard-hitting teams like Kamehameha and St. Joseph, so she beefed up the back row by moving three players from backup positions elsewhere to defensive specialist positions. Obviously, it worked.

"I think we would feel really bad if we hadn't played against a team like this," Miyashiro said. "They came in packing all cylinders and took everything we had."

St. Joseph 2, Seabury Hall 0: One day after seeing their string of consecutive games won snapped, the Cardinals went to work seeing how long they could go without giving up a point.

The Cardinals reeled off 21 straight points during the match, sweeping Seabury Hall 15-12, 15-1 to advance to their first state final.

"I think the girls just had a desire," St. Joseph coach Rachelle Hanohano said. "I set my lineup to put Sarah (Mason) man-on-man (with Seabury's Lecca Roberts), but mostly they hit the ball a lot with their heart."

Mason finished with seven kills and two blocks. Roberts had five kills.

But it was more than desire that made St. Joe's unbeatable, there was a little bit of fear mixed in as well.

"After that first game, I think we just came out ready to play," Mason said. "All we can do is give it our best, but we wanted this game so bad."

The Spartans led the Cardinals 10-6 in the first game, but Roberts fell to the ground wrong and had to leave the game. That made Seabury Hall thin enough to become little better than a practice squad for the Cardinals.

"When Lecca got hurt we lost focus," Seabury Hall coach Steve Colflesh said. "When you lose focus against a team like that you are going to get beat. And we did."

From that point in the game, the Cardinals went on their 21-point run and looked as if they would put a skunking on the Spartans in Game 2. With the score 14-0, Hanohano motioned for Chelsey Riviera, one of the nine-player squad's few bench players, to close it out. Riviera got a thunderous applause from fans and teammates alike, but served the ball into the net. The Spartans scored a harmless point before Ashley Hanohano aced her first serve attempt to end the match and allow the Cardinals to turn their attention to Kahuku.

"I think the girls need to rest tonight," Rachelle Hanohano said. "They need to sleep volleyball tonight."


Iolani 2, Moanalua 1: Kanoe Kamanao put down 10 kills and Raeceen Woolford and Ginger Gravelle each contributed five more to help the Raiders beat the Menehunes 15-2, 2-15, 15-7 in an up-and-down match.

Patti Hardimon had a match-high 11 kills and three aces for the Menehunes. Iolani plays Maui at 4:30 p.m. for fifth place.

Maui 2, Kealakehe 0: Edwina Pagdilao had seven kills to lead the Sabers to a 15-9, 15-4 win.

Pearl City 2, Hawaii Prep 1: The Chargers reached the consolation championship by rallying to beat Ka Makani 14-16, 15-11, 15-8.

Chalice Kaapuni led the Chargers with 13 kills and six blocks from one middle blocker position while Tina Questal registered nine kills from the other middle spot.

Outside hitters Somia Quan and Carly Hayashikawa each put down 13 kills for Hawaii Prep.

Pearl City meets Kalaheo today at 3 p.m.

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