The email came in moments ago with an interesting fact: Santa Margarita Catholic defeated defending champion Punahou 22-25, 25-15, 15-12 in the championship game of the Ann Kang Invitational Volleyball Tournament at ‘Iolani.
Reporter Stan Lee and photographer Cindy Ellen Russell covered the match for us and their work will appear on the Star-Advertiser.com website.
The same two teams met on Thursday’s opening day, when the Buffanblu won a three-setter over the Eagles. They just got by, 15-13, in the third.
Katy Daly, the head coach of the visitors from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., called that match a “pretty even sword fight,” so it’s not too surprising the two met again with everything on the line.
Daly and Eagles assistant coach Monique Harrison were here for the invitational as players. Daly came with San Clemente (Calif.) in 2002, and Harrison was a member of the Santa Margarita Catholic team that visited ‘Iolani in 2000.
The Eagles players, however, have never been here before.
According to Daly, they explored the island, hiked Diamond Head and hit the beach on Wednesday. The coach kiddingly said she wanted to go back to the beach after their pool-play games on Thursday, but the players, umm … obviously studious athletes, outvoted her and chose to get their homework done instead.
Maybe the Eagles’ ability to focus on the business at hand was a factor in the final against Punahou.
“It’s an awesome experience for these girls to be here,” Daly said on Thursday. “It’s great for us to play this level of competition, and it’s still August.”