Punahou Outlasts KS-Hawaii to Win 30th Title
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by Josh Pacheco
Before the first serve at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, volleyball fans knew that history would be made in the New City Nissan / Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I Volleyball Championship.
After the first set, it appeared that history would be made by the newcomer, third-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii, who had never played in the state title game until Saturday. The favorite of the non-establishment, the Warriors held a one-set advantage after the first and third sets.
In the end, the Buffanblu of Punahou found a way, forcing a fifth set, and winning it, to secure their 30th state championship. The final set scores were 23-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-11, 15-13.
The turning point in the match came in the third set, when Warriors setter Daniel Aina Jr. appeared to injure his ankle late in the set. While the Warriors still won the set, Aina saw limited playing time since that injury, and gave the slight edge to Punahou, who won the fourth set easily. Aina finished with 3 kills, 3 digs, and a block.
Both teams went back and forth in the final set, with the score evened at 13 late in the set when Evan Enriques willed his team back in it with a couple of solid points. But, Punahou finished off Kamehameha-Hawaii by scoring the final two points in the match.
Enriques finished off a stellar tournament by recording 42 kills in the championship match, capping his tournament kill tally at 111. Evan took home the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
Punahou, who has a standout offensive player of their own in Tui Tuileta, outlasted the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champions with a total team effort. Tuileta led the Buffanblu with 20 kills to compliment his 10 digs. Nicholas Andrews had 16 kills and 6 blocks, and Sean Gruebner added 15 kills and 9 blocks.
Division I All-Tournament Team
Sean Gruebner, OH, Punahou
Tui Tuileta, OH, Punahou
Nicholas Andrews, MB, Punahou
Nainoa Frank, OH, Kalaheo
Kupono Fey, OH, Punahou
Daniel Aina Jr., S, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Kolby Kanerake, L, Moanalua
Most Outstanding Player
Evan Enriques, OH, Kamehameha-Hawaii
Division II All-Tournament Team
Chad Barretta, OH, Hawaii Baptist
Keanu Yamamoto, OH, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
Shane Jacob, MB, Seabury Hall
Tyler Van Kirk, MB, Hawaii Preparatory Academy
Rocky DeLyon, OH, Seabury Hall
BJ Hosaka, S, Hawaii Baptist
Kalei Hosaka, L, Hawaii Baptist
Most Outstanding Player
Michael Fisher, OH, Hawaii Baptist
Division I tournament scores (featuring BIIF teams)
Championship: Punahou def. Kamehameha-Hawaii 23-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-11, 15-13
Fifth place: Waiakea def. Kamehameha-Kapalama 16-25, 25-18, 29-27
Division II tournament scores featuring BIIF teams)
Third place: Hawaii Preparatory Academy def. McKinley 25-13, 25-14, 25-23
Fifth Place: Waimea def. Kohala 25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 5-5