On paper, the dynasty that is Punahou boys volleyball should be in speed-bump mode.
With a young roster including three freshmen and three sophomores, Punahou hasn’t missed a beat. Junior Jack Deuchar had 13 kills while hitting .423 and Christian Hong added seven as the visiting Buffanblu outlasted Kamehameha 25-19, 25-21 on Thursday night at humid Kekuhaupio Gymnasium.
The visitors looked young at times, committing nine service errors in the first set and five more in the second. Their defense, however, was in lockdown mode. Senior libero Shea Suzumoto led the back row, and though Punahou had just two blocks, they limited a previously unbeaten Kamehameha to .094 hitting.
Punahou is now 4-0 in ILH play. Kamehameha dropped to 3-1.
Jakob Kimura and Claudio Clini added four kills apiece, sometimes from the right side, for the Buffanblu. Connor McInerny was on point start to finish with 19 assists. Like Suzumoto, he is one of their seniors.
“We’re trying to find that complete, perfect lineup,” McInerny said.
Deucher and his teammates may have struggled with serve, but everything else, including serve-receive, was humming. Coach Rick Tune was forgiving, all things considered, about his young team’s struggles at serve.
“Coach said we need to slow down and get into our routine,” Deucher said about their service. “We thought it would be louder. We kept them kind of quiet.”
Tune sees quite a bit of potential, once again, for the seven-time defending state champions. In all, the Buffanblu have won 36 state titles, including 12 of the last 14. Tune has been the head coach for nine of those state crowns.
“It’ll take us awhile to get clicking,” Tune said. “We’re at 70 percent. We’ve got 30 percent room to grow.”
Punahou will host Mid-Pacific on Saturday. Next week, the Buffanblu will meet Corona Del Mar at their Clash of the Titans tournament in Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
“That will be fun,” Deuchar said.