Punahou might have been too nice of a host on the first night of the Clash of the Titans.
The Buffanblu were swept by Huntington Beach, the Nation’s No. 1 team, 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 on Friday.
“To play in this environment is unbelievable,” said Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti. “The student section, the gym, the atmosphere was amazing. We’ve played in some hostile crowds but this is something we definitely want to do to get us ready for the end of the season.”
TJ DeFalco had 12 kills and six blocks and Alex Wolf and Ben Vaught had seven kills each. Wolf also finished with five blocks and the 6-7 middle is heading to UCLA in the fall to play water polo.
Vaught and James Anastassiades have committed to play for Hawaii next season. DeFalco and Tuaniga are headed to Long Beach State. Davis Gillett will be teammates with Micah Maa at UCLA next year.
“They’re a great team, they have good volleyball players, they play good defense and I think they served really well,” Pazanti said of Punahou. “That’s always going to be the key in volleyball, being able to serve and pass. They served tough and got us out of system a little bit towards the end of the second and third game. It was good we hung in there, see how we dealt with adversity on the road and see how they reacted.”
Hawaii Baptist was not quite as friendly to its mainland foe, dropping the first two sets before rallying to lose in five.
“It was a great opportunity for our kids, a school of our size, to compete against the best and to see where we need to get better,” HBA coach Teoni Obrey said.
Obrey said Set 2 was a “character check” for his team. Mira Costa switched up its lineup in Set 3, allowing the Eagles to gain some momentum that carried them deep into the match.
“It’s a lot of positives in terms of our resiliency, togetherness and playing for each other,” Obrey said.
Hawaii Baptist plays Huntington Beach on Saturday at 5 p.m. with Punahou-Mira Costa to follow.
Across town at the Kamehameha Cup, it is any team’s tournament to win, with the semis shaping up to include Kamehameha, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Moanalua and King Kekaulike. The championship will be played at noon on Saturday.
Pool play (round robin) standings
Kamehameha 3-1, Kamehameha-Hawaii 3-1, Moanalua 3-1, King Kekaulike 2-2, Santa Barbara 1-3, Westwood 0-4.
King Kekaulike def. Westwood (Calif.) 25-6, 25-20
King Kekaulike def. Kamehameha 25-21, 23-25, 27-26
Kamehameha def. Santa Barbara (Calif.) 25-17, 25-19
Moanalua def. Santa Barbara 25-16, 25-21
Kamehameha-Hawaii def. Westwood 25-21, 25-20
Kamehameha-Hawaii def. Moanalua 25-16, 17-25, 25-22
Santa Barbara def. King Kekaulike 25-16, 25-19
Moanalua def. Westwood 25-14, 25-10
Kamehameha def. Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-15, 25-16
Kamehameha def. Westwood 25-8, 25-15
Kamehameha-Hawaii def. Santa Barbara 25-17, 25-16
Moanalua def. King Kekaulike 25-18, 25-21
Kamehameha vs. Moanalua
Westwood vs. Santa Barbara
Playoffs to follow