No. 1 Punahou girls volleyball team off to flying start

Punahou head coach,Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson has her Buffanblu No. 1 in the state. Photo by Kat Wade / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It’s been a bit quiet, but the Punahou girls volleyball team is off to a flying start in ILH Division I action.

The Buffanblu (5-0) — ranked No. 1 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 — have quality victories over rivals Kamehameha and ‘Iolani.

Those are big wins. The Warriors and Raiders own the last four Division I state championships.

“We feel like our team is fairly balanced,” Buffanblu head coach Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson said via cell phone Tuesday. “I wouldn’t say we have an Elena (Oglivie, ‘Iolani’s two-time player of the year) or a (Keonilei) Akana girl (Kamehameha middle), but that has kind of forced all of our kids to work hard and be disciplined in all facets of the game and contribute in all areas.”

The Raiders were without Oglivie in their 25-19, 25-19 loss to Punahou on Saturday. She was in Ismailia, Egypt, winning gold at the U-18 world championships with the U.S. Girls Youth National Team.

The Buffanblu’s 25-18, 25-17 victory over the Warriors came Sept. 7, and they will try to keep the winning streak alive at home against Le Jardin tonight.

Fuamatu-Anderson knows no game in the ILH from now to the end of the season will be easy, especially the second time around against teams.

“For us, it’s about continuing to get in the gym and work hard and get better every day,” she said. “We know we have to get better and take care of the things within our control.”

Many Punahou players have stepped up so far, including junior libero Kate Yoshimoto, sophomore middle Isabelle Iosua, senior hitters Madison Beirne and Kaia Dunford, junior hitter Sia Liilii, and setter senior setter Chloe Kaahanui.

“Yoshimoto has definitely been a leader of ours,” the coach said. “She’s tough as nails and may not be the loudest, but she is a great teammate and a great example of what being a team captain is about.

“Iosua is a second year starter and also a leader on the court. She comes into the gym on a daily basis and always gives 110 percent in everything she does. She is a little more vocal than Kate, but we love here because of her example.

“The others have shined in their own way. THey’re holding their own and doing their part and stepping up when we need them to.”

The Buffanblu’s last D-I state title came in 2014, which was the third in four years at the time.


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