Punahou Outlasts KS-Hawai`i to Win State DI VB Title
by Josh Pacheco
HONOLULU – Punahou winning a state volleyball championship has been a familiar sight for the past four decades. Kamehameha-Hawai`i left everything on the Neal Blaisdell Center court Saturday night, but its best effort would not change the script on the Buffanblu’s volleyball dominance.
Punahou defeated Kamehameha-Hawai`i, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion, in four sets Saturday night to win its third consecutive Division I championship and 32nd overall title. Set scores were 25-21, 25-19, 23-25, 16-25.
Evan Enriques, playing his final match in his high school career, tallied 27 kills on 77 attacks in the losing effort, leading all players in both categories. That followed a 40 kill performance a night earlier in a five-set thriller over Moanalua to get to the championship match.
“I woke up this morning and just realized that today’s going to be my last game and that it’s a culmination of my four years playing for Kamehameha,” said Enriques after the match with tears in his eyes and an ice pack wrapped around his right shoulder. “I’m proud to represent Kamehameha, and I think it hit me late, but the team had a great game.”
Punahou, which finished Interscholastic League of Honolulu and Hawai`i High School Athletic Association play with a 16-0 record, had a few more horses to ride them to victory. Micah Ma`a, a junior, led the Buffanblu with 20 kills while USC commit Tui Tuileta added 16 kills. Daniel Andrews, a 6-foot-8 senior, added 10 kills and was in on six blocks.
Enriques knows Ma`a and Tuileta very well, going back to club volleyball. “It’s funny because we can read each other a lot. Micah knows I like to hit the deep corner shot. I know Tui likes to hit this (left) corner shot. It’s funny when we read each other, but it’s a good game, and everybody has a lot of respect for each other. Coach Rick’s program over there, lot of respect for that. Every time you go up against your teammates and your brothers, it’s always fun.”
Down two sets, the Warriors got off to a five point advantage in the third set, putting the defending champion on its heels and forcing Punahou coach Rick Tune to call an early timeout. Punahou rallied back to even the set, and even held a late lead, but attack errors mounted late in the set, and Kamehameha-Hawai`i took advantage of an errant swing to let the match continue.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i (15-1) may have run out of energy, 24 hours after winning a five set semifinal match. Punahou opened up with a quick start in set four and never looked back, leading at one point by 10 late in the set before the Warriors attempted a final rally, Pukana Vincent, however, hit the net when trying to smack an overpass back at the net, to end the match.
“We just got beat by a pretty decent team,” said coach Guy Enriques after the match. “They’ve got two horses to our one. It’s a tough start just looking at that alone.”
Kamehameha-Hawai`i loses just one senior, Evan Enriques, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the New City Nissan / HHSAA Division I Volleyball Championships.
“I will miss the kid dearly,” said Guy Enriques, Evan’s father. “He brings so much to this team, and embodies all the things that I try to coach. He lives and breathes the words that we try to bring out. For me as a coach and a dad, with four boys on the court, I can’t ask for a better place to be, being able to coach my own boys.”
Guy’s three other sons are junior Emmett, and freshmen Avery and Addison. The younger two converted from outside hitters to setters on the team, and were credited for being major reasons for the team’s ascension to the title match.
For Tune, it is his sixth championship as the head coach of the Buffanblu. It’s last championship loss was to Kamehameha-Kapalama in the final of the 2011 championship, held at Kea`au High School.
Prior to the Division I championship game, Hawai`i Baptist survived an opening set loss to defeat Seabury Hall of the Maui Interscholastic League in four sets. It was the fourth consecutive win for the Eagles in the Division II championship game under head coach Teoni Obrey. Hawai`i Baptist has won six of the last seven Division II titles.
Set scores were 21-25, 26-24, 25-12, 25-20.
Earlier Saturday, Honoka`a defeated Ka`u in two sets to take third place in the Division II tournament. Set scores were 25-19, 25-22 in the best two-out-of three consolation round match.
Chance Salva led the Dragons with 10 kills. Ka`u was paced by Cameron Enriques, who had 13 kills and eight digs.
Kamehameha-Hawai`i 21 19 25 16 – 1
Punahou 25 25 23 25 – 3
2014 New City Nissan / HHSAA Boys Volleyball Championship Division I All-Tournament Team
Austin Amian (DS/S, Moanalua)
Daniel Andrews (MB, Punahou)
Skylar Engleman (S, Moanalua)
Evan Enriques (OH, Kamehameha-Hawai`i)
Micah Ma`a (OH, Punahou)
Larry Tu`i Tuileta (OH, Punahou)
Luuga Vailuu (Utility, Moanalua)
Most Outstanding Player – Evan Enriques, Kamehameha-Hawai`i
2014 New City Nissan / HHSAA Boys Volleyball Championship Division II All-Tournament Team
Caleb Fisher (OH, Hawai`i Baptist)
BJ Hosaka (S, Hawai`i Baptist)
Makena Jost (OH, Seabury Hall)
Matthew Kishaba (DS, Hawai`i Baptist)
Isaac Liva (MB, Hawai`i Baptist)
Blake Rizzo (OH, Seabury Hall)
Chance Salva (OH, Honoka`a)
Most Outstanding Player – Caleb Fisher, Hawai`i Baptist