Chris Blake lets his seniors lead huge rally in Kamehameha’s win

Kamehameha celebrated its win against 'Iolani at the end of the game on Tuesday. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The byproduct is an incredibly long streak.

The process is what gets Chris Blake excited. Down two sets, he sat back on the end of the Kamehameha bench and watched his team convene. Recharge. Unite. The empowerment was real for Kamehameha, which rallied past ‘Iolani 19-25, 15-25, 25-22, 25-14, 17-15.

A younger coach, perhaps, would have felt compelled to say much more. Blake, the veteran championship guru, said less.


It was the end of the second set when he took a moment to let his team lead itself. All the talent on this year’s team is spread among seniors like Keonilei Akana and Bryanne Soares to sophomores like Devin Kahahawai (24 kills) and Maui Robins (14 kills). The playoff battle was elimination mode, with the winner advancing to the next round of the ILH’s version of Division I playoffs. The loser? Done for the year. Especially tough because Kamehameha came into the match ranked No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Girls Volleyball Top 10. ‘Iolani is No. 3.

So Blake let the Warriors sort things out before game three.

“We told each other, we have we have nothing to lose. We can accomplish anything we want as along as we stay together as a team,” said Akana, who finished with 19 kills. “I’m so proud of our team. We stayed calm.”

“It came down to our leadership. We talked a little about we need to get to that part, end game, end game is our game,” Blake said. “After set two, the leadership of that group definitely came together. The captains came together. That’s part of where these guys coming full circle, to understand all the things we do tactically comes down to what they want with their heart.”


The legacy of Kamehameha’s volleyball dynasty is stout. Large. Immense. But the streak of appearances at the state tournament has been ongoing since 2002. In fact, Kamehameha had played in every final since then. It is not something Blake ignores. The team knows the program’s history through and through.

“It’s about playing for those before you, those you play with now and those who are coming up,” Akana said. “I’m just so relieved. ‘Iolani is a great team and Elena (Oglivie) is such a great player.”

In defeat, Oglivie delivered a whopping 41 kills in 99 swings. It took all of Kamehameha, its depth and relentless defense — libero Tara De Sa was a dig machine swinging her arms to keep Oglivie’s rocket shots in play — were just enough to keep the rally going. Kamehameha has dual-threat players like Akana, who can offer double-digit digs and kills, like almost no other team. The glue was Bryanne Soares, who had three crucial blocks in the pivotal third set. She added 10 kills and a match-high 63 assists.


“Bry did an excellent job of running our offense. I can’t stress how much of a team win that was for us. Tara did exceptionally. Maui and K did good in the back. Mia (Goulart) came in the back row to do some work. It came down to making the right execution at the right part of the game. We’re lucky to come out with a win,” Blake said.

Kamehameha will play Le Jardin, the winner of “quadrant 2” on Wednesday. The victor will face regular-season winner Punahou on Friday for the ILH championship.

‘Iolani’s Elena Oglivie (9), a two-time state player of the year, finished with 41 kills in her final match with the Raiders. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha’s Maui Robins (9) hit against the block of ‘Iolani’s Maria Rebecca Sakoda (7) and Mari Lawton (6). Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Kamehameha’s Devin Kahahawai (2) was blocked by ‘Iolani’s Mokihana Tufono (11) and Cameryn Ann Nagaji (1). Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

COMMENTS

  1. Falcon Future October 9, 2019 9:35 am

    Wow, one of the best players in the history of girls volleyball not even going to states. Sigh for Iolani.


  2. ahinalu October 9, 2019 2:42 pm

    One of the Greatest Games of Hawaii High School Sports I’ve watched in a long time !


  3. Rayze October 9, 2019 4:26 pm

    Really wanted to see Oglivie end her high school career on top but Iolani was just a little TOO young this season. They gave it all they had though. Cant wait to see Oglivie and Leilah Smith from Texas wearing a Stanford uniform in 2020. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinal takes a look at her on the outside other than libero. Wouldve loved to see her stay home but its STANFORD (can’t pass up the opportunity to play at the best college in terms of academics and athletics)


  4. Mahatma Gandhi October 9, 2019 5:15 pm

    wow, hats off to Kamehameha. I figured this was it, the end of playing in 17 consecutive state volleyball championship games. Iolani was favored. Chris Blake gonna go down in history as one of the all-time great high school coaches in the islands. You know it gonna be Punahou and Kamehameha in the final yet again. Obviously it’s recruiting keeping the ILH teams way ahead of the OIA teams. When I was growing up in the 1970s, volleyball was nothing. They played the state championship in high school gyms. Roosevelt kane actually won three straight state championships mid 1970s. Never gonna happen again. I have seen volleyball little by little grow as a sport to the point now that ILH teams recruit players.


  5. Anti Wong October 9, 2019 5:59 pm

    Loved watching this game! But hate listening to Kevin Wong. He’s so biased. Always praising Punahou or Iolani. And when the opponent makes a good play, he’s quick to point out an excuse for their lost point, rarely giving props to the other team. Can’t stand him and hope OC 16 finds someone more balanced at calling a game. So what, if he played pro ball, never did anything with that. Hats off to the Warriors and Iolani but would have been better tv without wongee.


  6. Choloropicrin October 9, 2019 8:14 pm

    That was an awesome game last night. Championship vibes and feel. Those in attendance were lucky to have witnessed it live.


  7. really October 11, 2019 10:11 pm

    And once again here’s Mahatma Ghandi back with his jealousy, hate, and anger. Always crying about recruiting.

    Please tell us who is recruited and if they are on athletic scholarship.

    Last time I checked, KS isn’t allowed to recruit for sports due to their stringent admission policy.


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