Extra reps equal extra precision for Punahou in state-tourney win over Kahuku

Punahou outside hitter Madisyn Beirne (18) reacted after a point against Kahuku in the first round of the state tournament. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

One team had a long 10 days off.

The other was getting its groove back after losing playoff matches last Monday and Wednesday.

Third-ranked Punahou made those 10 days pay off, coming through in the fourth set to overcome No. 7 Kahuku 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21 on Monday night in the opening round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships. Punahou will meet BIIF champion Kamehameha-Hawaii on Thursday in the quarterfinal round at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium.

Monday’s match was similar to Kahuku’s OIA semifinal battle with Mililani. That night, Kahuku rallied from a 2-0 deficit, won the third set and led the fourth 20-14 before succumbing. This time, they trailed Punahou 2-0, took command in the third set, and buoyed by a large and vocal crowd in red — including Kahuku football coach Sterling Carvalho and many of his players — was right there with the home team. It was 16-all in the fourth game when the unforced errors did Kahuku in. Two service errors, one hitting error and an off-target set by one of the Lady Raiders’ middles.

Through the first three sets, the battle at serve was almost even. Each team had just six service errors. In the fourth, Punahou had no service errors and Kahuku had five. The Buffanblu did it not by taking something off their serve. It was just a matter of all those extra reps during that span of 10 days.

“We knew that we needed to be aggressive with Kahuku. These are fiery hitters,” Punahou coach Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson said. “So if we didn’t get them in out-of-system situations, and they have a strong middle attack — Keau (Kamakeeaina) does a really nice job of spreading out the offense. They were beating us in the middle, more than I wanted. So we worked really hard on our serving, actually, in the practices leading up to this match. We knew we had to keep the pressure on them.”

Kaia Dunford, who led Punahou (11-2) with 21 kills, also had three of her team’s six aces. Setter Chloe Kaahanui, opposite Halo-Elizabeth Yoshiki and outside hitter Madisyn Beirne had one ace apiece.

A preseason scrimmage between the teams helped prepare Punahou for Kahuku’s firepower.

“We definitely felt the heat that Kahuku is known for. We were well aware of Savannah (Taosoga) and all their other guns,” Fuamatu-Anderson said. “We did our best to prepare for Kahuku, but it’s also important that we prepare for our side.”

Punahou’s block had some success, and the back row, with Dunford and libero Katharine Yoshimoto among the Buffanblu providing strong resistance. Ten days since losing in the ILH final against Kamehameha, Punahou looks rejuvenated.

“We had to get creative and keep the kids motivated, but it was kind of good because it allowed us to slow things down,” Fuamatu-Anderson said.


Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Oct. 21Moanalua vs. WaianaeMoan 25-20, 24-26, 25-19, 23-25, 15-13Moanalua
2Oct. 21Punahou vs. KahukuPun 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21Punahou
3Oct. 21Waiakea vs. KapoleiKapo 25-15, 25-18, 25-13Waiakea
4Oct. 21KS-Maui vs. Le JardinLJA 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-14KS-Maui
5Oct. 24(4) King Kekaulike vs. MoanaluaMoan 25-17, 25-17, 25-19Moanalua
6Oct. 24(1) Kamehameha vs. KapoleiKSK 25-20, 25-14, 25-20Moanalua
7Oct. 24(3) KS-Hawaii vs. PunahouPun 25-12, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23McKinley
8Oct. 24(2) Mililani vs. Le JardinMil 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20McKinley
9*Oct. 25King Kekaulike vs. KapoleiKapo 25-23, 25-16McKinley
10*Oct. 25KS-Hawaii vs. Le JardinKSH 25-20, 25-22McKinley
11Oct. 25Moanalua vs. KamehamehaKSK 25-22, 25-19, 25-18Moanalua
12Oct. 25Punahou vs. MililaniPun 25-22, 25-12, 25-20Moanalua
13*Oct. 26Kapolei vs. KS-HawaiiKapo 25-16, 24-26, 15-8Blaisdell Arena
14*Oct. 26Moanalua vs. MililaniMoan 14-25, 28-26, 15-12Blaisdell Arena
15Oct. 26Kamehameha vs. PunahouKSK 21-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-21Blaisdell Arena
* — consolation


  1. Spectator October 22, 2019 6:14 am

    Out of all the first round matches, this was the best one to watch! Both teams came out banging with so much talent. The energy in the building was at a high level from the Kahuku fans especially the coach, she was a fire ball and I’m sure those players fed off her energy as well! Congrats Punahou! It should be an all ILH final again.

  2. Yusten October 22, 2019 3:56 pm

    Red Raider Nation travelled well. Very well played match. Good job to both teams.

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