The Punahou girls volleyball team will return to the state tournament after an eternity away by Buffanblu standards.
A 25-14, 26-24, 25-18 sweep of Mid-Pacific on Tuesday coupled with No. 3 ‘Iolani’s 25-22, 25-23, 25-19 sweep of No. 2 Kamehameha clinched Punahou’s first berth in the state tournament since 2014.
The five years between appearances at states is the longest drought for the school since it missed the dance from 1982-85. The Buffanblu won it all in 2014 and were a mainstay in the state final before that.
Two of the ILH’s three state berths are clinched with No. 1 Punahou and No. 7 Le Jardin both winning their quadrant. They will play Saturday with the winner advancing to play the tournament champion for the overall ILH title.
Either Kamehameha or defending champion ‘Iolani will miss states this year. The Warriors have quite a streak to uphold as they have been in the tournament in each of the last 17 years. Only Kahuku, which swept Kaiser on Tuesday, owns a longer current run advancing to the last 18 state tournaments. Moanalua matches Kamehameha with a 17-year streak.
‘Iolani will host Sacred Hearts to open the ILH tournament on Saturday while Kamehameha has a bye and will play the winner of Hawaii Baptist and Mid-Pacific on Monday. A possible Raiders-Warriors showdown for the third state berth would take place Tuesday if they both advance through.