Punahou turns back Moanalua
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|||Seabury Hall reaches semifinals|
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
HILO — Punahou spoiled Kaleinani Kabalis' highly anticipated homecoming match last night, sweeping Moanalua, 27-25, 25-19, in the quarterfinals of the New City Nissan/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Girls Volleyball Championships.
Punahou, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's third-place team, improved to 16-4 in the regular and postseason and will face ILH runner-up 'Iolani (19-2) in tonight's 7:30 semifinal at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
That will follow the first semifinal between two-time defending champion Kamehameha and Kahuku at 6.
Both matches will be televised live statewide on OC16.
A vocal crowd of about 900 at the Civic last night watched two-time All-State outside hitter Kabalis — a hometown product who transferred from Hilo High in 2005 — put on a performance that alternated between being spectacular and frustrating.
She finished with a match-high 15 kills, some of them of her trademark explosive variety, but also committed 11 hitting errors and ended up with a kill percentage of just .105.
Kabalis delivered a hard jump serve at 25-25 in the first game, but her foot was ruled to be on the line and a whistle stopped the play, giving the Buffanblu game point. She then hit an outside set long.
"It was there for us, but it's tough because Kalei was just a little off tonight and the rest of our team played a little tentative," said Moanalua coach Tommy Lake, whose O'ahu Interscholastic Association champion and No. 2 seed Na Menehune fell to 11-5. "She's brought us really far this season — she had 37 kills in the last two OIA matches — but her timing was a little off and it was not a normal night for her, and it was hard for others to pick up her load. She wanted it so much, but there's not much you can do when your timing's a little off like that."
Punahou's Anuhea Keanini, who finished with a team-high eight kills, said the Buffanblu's philosophy was to contain Kabalis, not necessarily stop her.
"We knew she was going to get her share of kills, but we wanted to at least get a touch on her ball, to make it easier for our diggers to pass it," Keanini said. "We were relieved after (Kabalis' serve violation), we said, 'This is our chance to break ahead and take the momentum.' "
Five consecutive Moanalua mistakes (a serving error, two hitting errors, a net violation and another hitting error) broke a 4-4 tie in the second game and put Punahou up 9-4. Na Menehune answered with three straight points to cut it to 9-7, but that was as close as they would get as Diana Hiromoto spiked three kills in a 7-2 run to push the Buffanblu lead to 16-9.
"Winning that first game definitely was important," Punahou coach Jim Iams said. "We had some great plays from a lot of people, and we need solid play from everybody."
KAMEHAMEHA DEF. ROOSEVELT
Kanani Herring had seven kills and 10 digs, and Alex Akana added six kills to lead the Warriors past the Rough Riders, 25-22, 25-20.
The ILH champion and two-time defending state champion Warriors, seeded No. 1, improved to 19-1 and will face Kahuku (14-3) in tonight's 6 o'clock semifinal. Roosevelt, the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's third-place team, fell to 12-4.
The Rough Riders played the Warriors close to even until midway through the first game, when Herring landed three kills in a 5-1 run to put Kamehameha up 18-13. Roosevelt eventually closed to 24-22, but Bekah Torres ended it with a line shot.
The Warriors raced to a 15-3 lead in the second game. The Rough Riders closed to 23-20, but a net violation and then Taylor Akana's back row kill ended the match.
'IOLANI DEF. KAMEHAMEHA-MAUI
Leinani Keanini had eight kills and seven digs, and Chelsea Hardin and Mahina Haina each added five kills to help the Raiders sweep the Warriors, 25-17, 25-15.
'Iolani, the ILH runner-up, improved to 19-2. Kamehameha-Maui, the Maui Interscholastic League runner-up, fell to 10-3.
The Warriors played the Raiders even for much of the first game, until Keanini notched five straight kills in an 8-1 run to put 'Iolani up 22-15.
In the second game, the Raiders jumped to a 4-0 lead but Kamehameha-Maui came back to tie it 12-12. Errors by the Warriors then helped 'Iolani run off six straight points.
KAHUKU DEF. KAMEHAMEHA-HAWAI'I
Leilani Tafuna had 10 kills and nine digs and Taeja Afalava added nine kills to help the Red Raiders sweep the Warriors, 25-17, 25-16.
Kahuku, the OIA runner-up, improved to 13-3. Kamehameha-Hawai'i, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion and No. 4 seed, fell to 14-2.
The first game was tied 14-14 before the Red Raiders pulled away with a late run. A 7-1 spurt helped Kahuku take a 12-5 lead in the second game, then the Red Raiders stretched it to 18-8 and 21-9.
WAIAKEA DEF. BALDWIN
Chelsey Buyuan had 10 kills and six digs to lead the Warriors to a 25-22, 25-14 sweep of the Bears.
See Wes Nakama's blogs at http://blogs.honoluluadvertiser.com
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Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.