Punahou tops Kamehameha
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Punahou School senior Larissa Nordyke's birthday wish came true last night: a 25-17, 25-23 volleyball sweep of defending state champion Kamehameha before a vocal home crowd of about 700 at Hemmeter Field House.
Nordyke, who celebrated her birthday on Friday, had a match-high 11 kills to help the Buffanblu improve to 4-0 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. Kamehameha, ranked No. 11 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, fell to 5-1.
Punahou, ranked No. 63, won back-to-back state titles in 2004 and 2005 but suffered through an injury-plagued season last year and did not qualify for the state tournament.
"This win is huge," Nordyke said. "We were dreaming about it. It puts us back on the charts."
The Buffanblu made a statement in last night's first game, using a 6-0 run to go up 22-14 and then squashing any comeback hopes by the Warriors.
Kamehameha rebounded strongly in the second game, taking a 20-15 lead after kills by Alex Akana and Tati Santiago. But Punahou answered the challenge with Liz Ka'aihue's kill and two kills and a block by Nordyke to close it to 20-19.
After Jordan Meredith's kill made it 21-19, Nordyke slammed a kill and then landed a left-handed dump shot just inside the antennae to tie it at 21-21. The teams traded the next four points, then Nordyke got another kill and Ka'aihue ended with a spike down the right side.
Ka'aihue, like Nordyke a 2004 Advertiser All-State first team selection, finished with nine kills and Shaena-Lyn Kuehu added four blocks, including three solo stuffs.
"They have a lot of veteran players, and it showed on the court," Warriors coach Chris Blake said. "Punahou just played a great match and they put us into a lot of bad spots. They deserved to win."
Kamehameha suffered a huge loss in July when outside hitter Alexis Robins, a three-year starter, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee. She is out for the season.
Kanani Herring led the Warriors last night with 10 kills.
PUNAHOU BOYS SWEEP
Spencer McLachlin had a match-high 15 kills yesterday to lead defending boys state champion Punahou to a 28-26, 25-15 sweep of visiting Kamehameha.
The Buffanblu improved to 3-0; the Warriors fell to 2-1.
Punahou rallied to win yesterday's first game after trailing 18-10 at one point. McLachlin helped the Buffanblu scratch back and he tied it at 22 with a kill.
The teams traded points until Riley McKibbin's dump shot put Punahou up 27-26 and a Kamehameha kill attempt went long.
The Buffanblu raced to a 12-3 lead in the second game and the closest the Warriors got after that was 15-10.
Kahale Morgan led Kamehameha with seven kills.
IOLANI GIRLS SEVENTH AT LAS VEGAS TOURNEY
Iolani's girls, the defending state runner-up, took seventh place last night in the prestigious 32-team Durango Fall Classic tournament in Las Vegas.
The Raiders advanced to the championship bracket after pool play on Friday, then lost to eventual runner-up Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) 25-17, 25-19 in yesterday's quarterfinals. Assumption, ranked No. 2 in the nation, lost to No. 1 Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) in the championship match.
Iolani, ranked No. 39, beat No. 21 Redondo (Calif.) Union 25-15, 25-12 in the seventh-place match.
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.