Winning three out of the last four Division I state championships doesn’t mean a whole lot when a new season begins. That’s the case for the Punahou girls volleyball team as it prepares for the defense of its crown at the Ann Kang Invitational this week.
“It’s a new vibe,” coach Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson said about the 2015 version of the Buffanblu, intimating that it isn’t better or worse than last year, just different.
Gone to graduation are hitter McKenna Granato and setter Kiani Tuileta as well as Kaylen Higa, an important team leader.
“They were the glue and now we’re looking for young leaders to be stepping up and speak up even though they might not be used to it,” Fuamatu-Anderson said.
Brandee Markwith and Dallas Lishman are two who are transitioning into that leadership role, the coach said.
“Everybody contributed,” Fuamatu-Anderson said after a Kang tournament victory over Santa Margarita Catholic on Thursday. “Whatever position they were in, they were doing the job, whether it was digging on defense or making critical plays at middle blocker.”
Throughout the three-set victory, setter Nikki Lum kept the offense in gear, and she picked up 28 assists while keeping all of the Punahou hitters busy. She is picking where Tuileta left off.
Lishman, an outside hitter, had 11 kills in that win, and middle Lillie Klemmer added 10.
Punahou is 6-0 so far at the Kang tournament. The Buffanblu also defeated Crossroads (Santa Monica, Calif.) on Thursday, Mid-Pacific, Clovis (Clovis, Calif.) and Moanalua on Friday, and Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) on Saturday morning.