Punahou keeps Kamehameha on its slide


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

It has been a tough week for the Kamehameha girls volleyball team.

The Warriors traveled to the Durango Invitational in Las Vegas and dropped three matches in two days there. Upon their return to Hawaiian soil, they received a rude welcome back from Hawaii Baptist, which handed Kamehameha its first Interscholastic League of Honolulu loss this season Tuesday.

In the pregame warm-up against the Eagles, starting setter Kelci Renshaw injured her right ankle and could not play. HBA won in three sets.

The miserable week continued yesterday as top-ranked Punahou outlasted the No. 2-ranked Warriors 25-22, 18-25, 25-21 in front of a boisterous crowd at Kamehameha's Kekuhaupi'o Gym.

“;We had a tough week, but it was a great test for us to see where we are,”; Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said. “;It gives us an idea of what we need to do in order to step it up and play better the next time we get on the court.”;

Punahou (14-0) has been so dominant this season that the loss in Set 2 was the first set the Buffanblu have dropped in the ILH regular season. It also was the first set they dropped since playing the Warriors in Kamehameha's preseason tournament, a match that Punahou also won in three games.

“;Kamehameha played great,”; Punahou coach Jim Iams said. “;I told my players after the game (that) they've been the champions. They are the queens of the hill, and they fought like the dickens to hold onto that. It took everything we had, and even then, it was barely enough.”;

For all the struggles and all the adversity the Warriors (12-2) have faced this past week, the defending Division I state champions pushed Punahou to the limit. But the Buffanblu had too many weapons and made too few mistakes when it counted most.

“;I like the way (we) responded,”; Iams said. “;It's a tough environment. It's tough to get over the hurdle. And I think down the stretch, when they came back at us, we held pretty tough.”;

HBA wins D-II matchup

In the first match of the made-for-TV doubleheader and in a rematch of last year's Division II state championship game, sixth-ranked Hawaii Baptist dropped the first set but pulled away in the last two games for a 21-25, 25-20, 25-10 victory over ninth-ranked Word of Life on the Kamehameha campus. HBA improves to 12-2 in the ILH, while Word of Life drops to 10-4.

HBA, the reigning Division II state champion, led late in the first set, but a 7-0 Word of Life run gave the Firebrands the upset. In the second set, the Eagles had to hold off a furious Word of Life rally to survive with a five-point victory. The third set was all HBA, as the Firebrands seemed to run out of steam.