Punahou rallies past Kamehameha in ILH boys volleyball
Mar. 18—Kahale Clini had 20 kills, 10 aces and four blocks as Punahou rallied from a two-set deficit for a stunning 23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-21, 15-5 win over Kamehameha on Friday night at Kekuhaupio Gym.
Kahale Clini had 20 kills, 10 aces and four blocks as Punahou rallied from a two-set deficit for a stunning 23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-21, 15-5 win over Kamehameha on Friday night at Kekuhaupio Gym.
Ian Kinney tallied 12 kills and and James Taras added nine for Punahou. Taras also had a team-high five blocks for the Buffanblu. Clini's return from training with the U19 national team was timely.
"It's way different from here. I was pretty nervous. The first Hawaii boy going out there for quite awhile. The last person was Micah Maa. Knowing where his trajectory is, I want to do the same, " Clini said.
He didn't make the cut, but gets another chance in the summer when the national team prepares for the world championships.
"It was pretty fun. Obviously, I didn't make the team to travel to Guatemala, but it's the best level my age can possibly get, " Clini said. "I found things I need to work on."
Kamehameha took its first loss in ILH play, while Punahou moved into a first-place tie with the Warriors at 3-1.
"We always knew that we had pieces, but they had to grow with their individual games and as a cohesive unit, " Punahou coach Rick Tune said. "We felt good about the way things are going this week, and I'll tell you what—this team is only scratching the surface."
Elijah Smith dished 25 assists and Matthew Chun had a team-high 20 digs Kamehameha's 6-foot-8 sophomore, Kainoa Wade, finished with 20 kills against Punahou's persistent defensive scheme and had a hitting percentage of.241.
Middle Kaupo Hoopai-Waikoloa (.250 ) had five kills and Heston Cabinian chipped in four kills (.167 ). Brayden Van Kuren had 28 assists, while Harryzen Soares had a team-high 16 digs.
Poukihi Awai had a team-high four blocks.
The home team, relying on solid defense and a steady attack by Wade, eked out wins in the first two sets. Tune was confident that his team would make a turnaround.
"We should've won the first two sets. It was close, we just didn't finish. I said, God gives you the same challenge until you do it. What's our opportunity here, " Tune said. "We're young, but these guys are hungry and it's a great bunch of guys. They're learners. They want to soak up knowledge and what I love is they don't get care who gets credit. They just play."
In Set 3, Clinic closed out strong with a block and a right-side kill before a Kamehameha service error brought Punahou within 2-1.
The visitors opened a 17-10 lead in Set 4, then saw the Warriors rally within two with a 5-0 run. Kinney clutched up with a kill, as did Taras, as Punahou stifled Kamehameha's momentum with constant double blocks on Wade and superb back-row defense.
With the match tied, Clini started Set 5 on fire with a kill, a block on Wade and two more kills to give the Buffanblu a 4-1 lead.
Kamehameha stayed within three but self-destructed with three service errors. Chun then delivered the first of his two aces during an 8-1 run to close out the match in surprisingly easy fashion.
A block by Adam Haidar during the run helped Punahou put the match away.
"I told them, hold your heads up high. You've got to be a great winner and a great loser, " Kamehameha coach Sava Agpoon said. "They made a small but big adjustment, and after that we were flat from the third set on. We've got to work on that."
Haidar finished with seven kills, hitting.545. Percentages were high for Clini (.368 ), Kinney (.346 ) and Taras (.500 ), as well.
"We think about what's the next point. That's it, " Tune said. "We've got to get ready for Mid-Pacific on Tuesday."