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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Kamehameha, Punahou advance

 •  Riflery: Sacred Hearts, Waiakea prevail
 •  Water Polo: Punahou boys rally past Pac-Five, 5-4

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kamehameha will host Punahou for both the boys and girls Interscholastic League of Honolulu volleyball tournament championship matches tomorrow.

The girls match is set for 4:30 p.m., followed by the boys match at 7. Both will be played at Kamehameha's Kekuhaupi'o Fieldhouse.

Kamehameha's boys upset Iolani on the road, 23-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-15, yesterday to advance. Punahou's boys beat visiting Maryknoll, 25-19, 25-13, 25-16.

In the girls semifinals, Laryssa Nordyke had 18 kills to help the host Buffanblu sweep Iolani, 25-20, 25-20, 25-17, and Kamehameha rallied past visiting Hawai'i Baptist, 20-25, 27-26, 25-13, 25-18.

Both of Punahou's teams won the regular season titles and have clinched state tournament berths. Kamehameha's girls also secured a state berth by finishing at least second in the regular season and tournament.

If Punahou's girls win tomorrow, they will be ILH champions and will receive a first-round bye in next week's state tournament. If Kamehameha wins, there will be a playoff for the overall title at Punahou on Saturday.

If Punahou's boys win tomorrow, they also will be ILH champions and will earn a first-round bye in the state tournament. Kamehameha will then play at regular-season runner-up Iolani on Saturday for the ILH's second state berth.

Hawai'i Baptist's girls tried to position themselves for their first state tournament berth, but suffered a bad break at Monday's practice when leading hitter Rayna Kitaguchi sprained her right ankle.

Kitaguchi's status was in doubt yesterday morning but she was able to suit up and finish with a team-high 10 kills.

"It affected her to a certain extent, but she was determined to play through it," HBA coach Keith Sugiura said. "She and the team set a goal to make the state tournament, and it was a 24-hour roller coaster emotionally for us. From not knowing if she would play, to seeing her suit up ... I think just her being on the court inspired us. She played through the pain on just guts."

The Eagles started strong and won the first game, then rallied from a 24-21 game 2 deficit to tie it three times. But the Warriors finally reached the 27-point cap on freshman Rebekah Torres' dink.

"That was the turning point," Kamehameha outside hitter Alexis Robins said. "If we lost, we would have been down 2-0, so winning that game gave us confidence."

The Warriors, led by Robins' serve, took that momentum into the third game and jumped to a 10-1 lead. Hawai'i Baptist never got closer than 15-7 thereafter.

The fourth game was tied 10-10, but Kristal Tsukano and Robins each served three points to help Kamehameha take a 19-12 lead that proved insurmountable.

"We took about a game and half to get settled, but I'm proud of how we adjusted," Warriors coach Chris Blake said. "It was important for us to bounce back, because HBA is a great team."

Reach Wes Nakama at wnakama@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2456.