Sometimes, it takes absolute perfection to knock off the No. 1 team in the state.
‘Iolani probably understands this. The fourth-ranked Raiders were outstanding defensively and still fell at Kamehameha’s house, 25-21, 25-23 on Tuesday night.
Kamehameha hit .245. ‘Iolani finished at .216. The Raiders had just one hitting error and one service error in the second set, and still couldn’t topple the mighty Warriors.
Punahou will visit Kamehameha on Saturday in a high noon showdown as the home-and-away first round nears a close.
“Great team. Well coached. We’re definitely going to have to bring our best match on Saturday,” Warriors coach Chris Blake said.
The last time Kamehameha and ‘Iolani met, it was the ILH season opener and Kamehameha dominated.
“They’ve definitely improved a lot,” said Tiyana Hallums, a 5-9 senior who will play at Gonzaga next season. “They put our hitters in bad positions. They got us out of system a lot. Our passing was off today, especially me.”
Hallums, a returning All-State Fab 15 selection, had seven kills and nine digs to spark a solid all-around team performance by Kamehameha. Kealani Browne had a team-high eight kills and two blocks — Kamehameha outroofed the visitors 6-3 — and sophomore Kayla Afoa had six kills.
With Harvard-bound Anna Uhr (14 kills) on fire, the Raiders led for nearly the entire opening set. She had five kills in her first eight swings. But Kamehameha went on a 5-0 run to take a 24-20 lead, benefiting from key plays by Afoa. She had a block and two kills during the run.
The Raiders never led in the second set, but tied it at 5-all, 16-all, 19-all, 20-all and 22-all. Kamehameha led 23-22 when an apparent double-hit on the Warriors’ side of the net off a partial block was not called. After Kamehameha got the point on an ‘Iolani hitting error, Raiders coach Kainoa Obrey questioned one of the officials, but to no avail.
“From my vantage point, it looked like a double hit,” he said. “But I’m proud of our kids. They won that next point.”
A kill by Uhr on a left-handed tip brought the visitors within 24-23, but Afoa ended the match with her final kill.
‘Iolani will visit Sacred Hearts on Saturday in a 9:30 a.m. match. The Raiders visit Punahou next Tuesday (6 p.m.).