McLachlin above and beyond rest
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
If there were any doubt remaining about who was Hawai'i's best boys volleyball player this season, Punahou senior Spencer McLachlin erased it in the state championship match.
McLachlin, a 6-foot-7 senior outside hitter, finished with 15 kills and no errors in 23 attempts (for a .652 hitting percentage) and added nine digs to lead the Buffanblu to a 25-14, 25-20 sweep of Kamehameha-Hawai'i. The victory capped Punahou's third straight unbeaten season and essentially sealed McLachlin's bid for repeating as The Advertiser's State Player of the Year.
That honor was officially decided by a recent vote of coaches, officials and members of the media, who made it unanimous.
McLachlin came through in big matches during the regular season, with 15 kills in a 28-26, 25-15 victory over Kamehameha and 18 kills in a 25-22, 25-27, 25-22 win over 'Iolani.
But his play peaked in his final high school match, in which he was nearly flawless with powerful attacks and graceful defense.
"We had our biggest block up there, and he would just hit over it," Kamehameha-Hawai'i coach Guy Enriques said. "My players looked at me and said, 'Coach, what can we do?' I said, 'Well, I guess we just have to shake his hand after the match.' He's playing at a different level."
McLachlin is one of four Punahou players selected to The Advertiser's All-State first team. He is joined by teammates Riley McKibbin, outside hitter Erik Shoji and libero Colan Ishii.
McKibbin, a 6-3 senior setter, was the quarterback of a potent offense that had many weapons. He showed an ability to identify opponents' weaknesses and exploited them by smartly spreading his sets.
McKibbin also contributed with strong hitting and blocking, to the point where Kamehameha coach Guy Kaniho said, "If he were strictly an outside hitter, he probably could have made All-State at that position, too."
Shoji, a 5-11 junior outside hitter, was an able complement to McLachlin after making the move from playing libero/defensive specialist the past two seasons.
Ishii, a 5-9 senior, took Shoji's place and was a key factor in starting the offense by getting clean passes to McKibbin.
The Punahou quartet is joined on the All-State first team by 'Iolani's Brad Lawson, Kamehameha's Jordan Inafuku and Roosevelt's Kaina Palama.
Lawson, a 6-foot-6 junior outside hitter, was named Player of the Year in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. He carried much of the offensive burden for the Raiders, who lost two-time Advertiser All-State selection Kawika Shoji to graduation.
Inafuku, a 5-11 senior who shared Advertiser State Player of the Year honors with Shoji in 2004, split time between setter and outside hitter and helped the Warriors take second in the ILH.
Palama, a 6-2 junior outside hitter/middle blocker, helped the Rough Riders win their first O'ahu Interscholastic Association title since 1980.
Punahou's Peter Balding was named Coach of the Year for the third straight time.
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.