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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Kneubuhl picked as state's best

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Trying to find a weakness in Kamehameha Schools senior Isaac Kneubuhl's volleyball game is like trying to find a quiet O'ahu neighborhood on New Year's Eve: You'll spend a lot of time searching, and likely won't find any.

Isaac Kneubuhl was a unanimous choice as The Advertiser's State Player of the Year.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Kneubuhl, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter, was a unanimous choice as The Advertiser's State Player of the Year after a vote of coaches, officials and media from around the state. It is the second straight season Kneubuhl won the honor.

Also making the All-State first team are Iolani junior setter Sean Carney, Pearl City senior outside hitter Jonathan Charette, Kamehameha senior outside hitter Jarrett Day, Iolani junior outside hitter Derrick Low, Kamehameha senior middle blocker Willy Melemai and Iolani junior defensive specialist Michael Contee.

Pearl City's Reid Shigemasa was named Coach of the Year.

Players like Low and Charette drew loud applause for their leaping ability and spectacular spikes, but Kneubuhl clearly stood out with his all-around play.

He could hit, block, pass, dig and serve with the best, and he was valuable and dangerous no matter where he was in the rotation.

Kneubuhl perhaps was the state's only player who could thrill crowds equally with his digs or serves as he did with his hitting. He was at his best in the most crucial times, with 22 kills and seven blocks in a five-game victory over Iolani to force a playoff for the overall Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship, then another 22 kills against the Raiders to help the Warriors win the title three days later.

The following week, Kneubuhl was named the state tournament's Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year. He has signed a national letter of intent to play for Cal State Northridge next season.

Carney, at 6-3, provided the Raiders with added dimensions at setter. He contributed with blocking and hitting and was one of their top servers.

Charette (6-2) used his intelligence as well as his vertical leap to land pinpoint kills. He elevated his game in the postseason, with a state tournament-high 23 kills in the Chargers' 15-8, 11-15, 15-5 semifinal upset over Iolani and 10 kills in a 15-10, 15-9 loss to Kamehameha in the final.

Day (6-3) also stepped up his effort with championships on the line. He had 17 kills and 10 blocks in a five-game victory over Iolani, then had 18 kills and three aces against the Raiders in the ILH title match.

Low, The Advertiser's State Player of the Year in basketball, was perhaps Hawai'i's most improved volleyball athlete. He went from being a second-team all-ILH selection in 2001 to the state's most potent offensive weapon this season.

Low (6-1) had a combined 51 kills in the two losses to Kamehameha in the ILH's final week and had 21 kills in the state semifinal loss to Pearl City.

"I don't know if there is a defense for that guy," Kamehameha coach Pono Maa said.

Melemai, at 6-6, was the state's most intimidating blocker. He had 14 kills and a match-high 10 blocks against Iolani in the ILH final.

Contee was a key player in helping the Raiders (16-3) come within a victory of their first ILH championship since 1978.

Shigemasa guided the Chargers (14-2) to the state final, becoming the first O'ahu Interscholastic Association team in 23 years to get that far.