Punahou high on experience, depth, togetherness

Punahou's Ethan Siegfried (7) celebrates a kill with Wil Stanley (4), DJ McInerny (1), and Ryan Wilcox (9) on Thursday. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser
Punahou’s Ethan Siegfried (7) celebrates a kill with Wil Stanley (4), DJ McInerny (1), and Ryan Wilcox (9) on Thursday. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

Punahou has won four state Division I boys volleyball championships in a row, and the way the Buffanblu looked on Thursday against Kamehameha, it could easily become five in a row. That may be a little too early, since they’ve got to finish up the Interscholastic League of Honolulu season.

The Buffanblu (10-0), for most of the 25-16, 25-20 victory, were in control and in system, making it very difficult for Kamehameha to mount an offense.

Two setters, Todd Gruebner and D.J. McInerny, kept plenty of options swinging away — especially Wil Stanley, Ethan Siegfried, Kana‘i Akana and Ryan Wilcox. Middles Sam Bradley and Akahi Troske also got into the mix.

“We’ve had really intense practices this year and as a team, all 16 of us, we’re playing a lot better,” Stanley said. “We’ve been playing together two, three years now and we know each other really well. This year, we’re more in tune with each other than we were last year at this part of the season.”

That is a scary thought.

“We have tons of depth this year,” Stanley added. “I trust any of these guys coming in and starting any game. It’s amazing how many players we have that play club all year round.”

Case in point about the depth: Rohan Watamull, who got some applause from teammates when came in as a sub at the end of Thursday’s win.

“He’s a senior, and at one point was starting,” Stanley said. “It’s tough competition on the outsidee. When he comes in, we like to see our fellow seniors doing well.”

Watamull immediately had a kill and a dig to help finish off Kamehameha.

Punahou — the top-ranked team in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 — will face two nonleague tests Friday and Saturday night at home against two California teams — Mira Costa and Corona Del Mar. Fifth-ranked Kamehameha-Hawaii will also face those two California teams on Friday and Saturday at Punahou.

After the win over Kamehameha, Punahou coach Rick Tune said the in-system offense that got past the Warriors after 10 ties in the second set will be very important against the visitors this weekend.

“Hopefully, we’re going to do that over the next two days because we’re going to have to,” Tune said.


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