Kamehameha-Hawaii’s boys volleyball team didn’t play against Punahou this weekend in the Clash of the Titans tournament.
Ahhhh … but they did go to Punahou, where the tournament is held and got a close-hand look at the team that has been standing in the way of a state championship for a long, long time now.
Kamehameha-Hawaii is, once again, taking aim at the top in Hawaii, but that climb to the mountain goes through the Buffanblu, just about no matter what.
Punahou has won four straight Division I state championships and six of the last seven. You can take it further than that — 33 times in the 47 years the tournament has been held.
Take a look at Kamehameha-Hawaii’s Division I state-tournament finishes since 2008 to see just how much the Buffanblu have been a thorn in the side of head coach Guy Enriques and the Warriors from the Big Isle:
>> 2008: state quarterfinals (two-set loss to Kamehameha)
>> 2009: state semifinals (three-set loss to Punahou)
>> 2010: state quarterfinals (three-set loss to ‘Iolani)
>> 2011: state semifinals, (three-set loss to Punahou)
>> 2012: state final (five-set, two-point loss to Punahou)
>> 2013: state quarterfinals (three-sets loss to Punahou)
>> 2014: state final (four-set loss to Punahou)
>> 2015: state final (four-set loss to Punahou)
That’s quite a resume for what is a scrappy, resilient bunch, and, in the eyes of the head coach of Saturday night’s opponent, Stan Conti of Corona Del Mar, “They’re one of the best teams we face.”
Somehow, the Warriors are ranked No. 5 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 instead of No. 2 or No. 3. No matter, they gained valuable experience at Hemmeter Fieldhouse in four-set losses to Mira Costa on Friday and Corona Del Mar on Saturday.
Addison Enriques, the setter and son of the head coach and twin brother of hitter Avery Enriques, was somewhat proud that Kamehameha-Hawaii took a set off of Corona Del Mar on Saturday, something Punahou did not do while getting swept Friday.
“We heard about that (the Sea Kings’ sweep of Punahou), so we were saying as long we get one, we can say something,” Addison Enriques said. “But we really wanted to beat them, just so we could say something more, to prove something. They (the Sea Kings) are really good.
“We’ve heard so much about Punahou this year, especially how good their middles are. We wanted to stop Corona Del Mar’s middles, so when we play Punahou, we have it down by then.”
It didn’t work. Jake Meyer, a 6-foot-7 sub, had 12 kills and three blocks in the final three of four sets.
Still, it’s a work in progress, as any team is at this point of the season.
Without a doubt, the Warriors are taking aim at the dynastic Buffanblu. Can they get it done?
“We’re got to be prepared in our minds the most,” Addison Enriques added. “If we break down mentally, it’s not going to work.”