Devin the Destroyer: Kahahawai’s 30 kills spark Kamehameha over ‘Iolani

Kamehameha's Devin Kahahawai had 34 kills in her team's five-set win over then-No. 1 Punahou on Oct. 19, 2021. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser.

There’s a certain glitz that comes with playing for the US national team.

Kamehameha junior Devin Kahahawai came home on Saturday after a memorable stretch with the team in Mexico.

“I do miss playing international, that was an awesome experience. It has its perks, but it’s nice to be home, I can say that for sure. I’m glad to be back with my team,” the 6-foot-2 outside hitter said.

While she was gone, Kamehameha was 2-2 in ILH play against behemoths Punahou and ‘Iolani. With Kahahawai back in the fold for Wednesday’s showdown against ‘Iolani, the Warriors overcame the Raiders 25-17, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22. ‘Iolani dropped to 3-2, both losses coming against Kamehameha.

Kahahawai was spectacular much of the night with 30 kills and 17 digs, a destroyer from the back row, left side and right side. But her mind has been preoccupied with school.

“That was crazy. These last couple of practices on Monday and Tuesday I actually had to stay in to get study help for some of my core classes because I missed about 2.5 weeks of school. In Mexico I wasn’t getting a good (WiFI) connection. I couldn’t get into my school e-mails, class page. I was kind of, oh my God, I’m going to be so far behind when I get back,” she said.

Her worries were for naught.

“My teachers have been awesome. A lot of them have given me extensions over (upcoming) fall break. It’s a battle but everyone’s got to go through it,” she said.

Kamehameha played without senior Maui Robins, who suffered an ankle injury recently. Coach Chris Blake hopes the versatile all-state player can return perhaps as early as next week. The depth of Kamehameha’s roster showed as middle Moana Peaua came up with 3.5 blocks. That helped to counter ‘Iolani’s momentum during big runs. The Warriors sometimes struggled to stop ‘Iolani outside hitter Anuhea Hauanio-Lore (19 kills) and Brooke Naniseni (13).

“ ‘Iolani played really well on the pins. (Hauanio-Lore) did a lot of great things. Outside, Naniseni did great things. (Mari Lawton) was a beast in the middle. Their play with Moki, who did a lot of great stuff. She willing that team to success,” Blake said. “For us to go out with a win like we did, it’s a great team win for us.”

When ‘Iolani’s double-team block on Kahahawai began to prevail, setters Marley Roe (29 assists) and Sierra Scanlan (26) went to middle Adrianna Arquette (eight kills, 2.5 blocks) and senior outside hitter Nadia Koanui (10 kills, 12 digs).

“As much as we relied on Devin, we had pretty good balance overall with our setters,” Blake said. “Very good job with our first touch today. We did really well with our service lines and that’s hat’s off to coach Daryl (Tamashiro) on the serves, and our set distribution was really good with coach Uila (Peaua).”

A pair of aces by libero Payton Oliveira (20 digs) fueled a key rally in game four. ‘Iolani was ahead 16-14 when the home team ignited the run.

“For us, we believe the strength of our team is the team. As we continue to progress through the time Maui (is injured) and Devin wasn’t here, our team continues to level up,” Blake said. “I think as we continue to understand it’s going to take everyone contributing, being able to replicate a lot of the things that ‘Iolani is doing in our gym with our machine, we call it. Finding ways to do those things under pressure is key.”

With ice wrapped around her right shoulder and right shin after the match, Kahahawai was excited.

“Shout out to my team. They did awesome tonight. That was awesome. Shout out to my family. I love you guys,” she said. “Lastly, shout out to my girls back on the continent. I miss you guys so much.”


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