Kamehameha-Kahuku (full version)

(Note: Space limitations in this morning’s print edition, so here’s the full story on the Kamehameha-Kahuku quarterfinal match at the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I Girls Volleyball State Championships.)

PUKALANI, Maui >> Chelsey Keoho and Faith Maafala drilled four aces each as five-time defending state champion Kamehameha held on for a 25-17, 23-25, 25-10, 28-26 win over third-seeded Kahuku last night in the quarterfinals of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division I Girls Volleyball State Championships.

The Warriors will face unseeded Waiakea, which knocked out second-seeded Kamehameha-Maui, in tonight’s semifinal round.

Keoho, a libero, and Maafala, a freshman, were integral in a match that had myriad momentum swings. Kamehameha (20-2) finished with nine aces and just five service errors. Kahuku (14-3) had just three aces and nine service errors.

Misty Ma‘a pounded 13 kills, including two in the final stretch on plays down the middle. Trailing 23-22 in the fourth set, the Warriors called time out.

“Coach said to ‘Relax, calm down and take it one point at a time,’ ” said middle blocker Talia Jardin-Fermantez, who finished with 10 kills and five of her team’s eight blocks.

They went to a rarely-called play. Setter Aloha Robins-Hardy faked to Jardin-Fermantez in the middle, then fed Ma‘a, who roared in behind Jardin-Fermantez to put down a kill and tie the set.

Down 25-24, Kamehameha went to Ma‘a again with the same play to tie it, and Jardin-Fermantez gave the Warriors a 26-25 lead with a block of Kahuku’s Elizabeth Blake.

A serve out by Maafala followed, but Brit Kalepa sent her kill off a Kahuku block, and a bad connection between Lady Raiders setter Teuila Nautu and Lepeka Kalulu-Sugai led to a hitting error, ending the match.

“We had to play our best volleyball of the season,” Warriors coach Chris Blake said. “We got good execution against a very good team. We did a really good job of limiting their middle swings. Our team made great adjustments after set 2.”

Kahuku finished with 18 hitting errors to Kamehameha’s nine, but managed to stay close with scrappy defense.

“We talked about the little things, but we had the out serves, not passing well,” Kahuku coach Kaniela Kalama said of his Oahu Interscholastic Association champions.

“The third set, the momentum killed us,” he said of Kamehameha’s surge for a 2-1 lead. “Overall, I’m happy. Kamehameha is really good. We practiced for that, watched the tape, but we didn’t do the small, simple things.”

Kalepa had her best effort of the postseason, tallying 12 kills. Setter Alohi Robins-Hardy had 35 assists and two kills.

Blake led Kahuku with 12 kills. Kalulu-Sugai (nine kills), Ho‘onani Apo (eight) and Tyra Williams (seven) contributed to a balanced attack. Nautu finished with 33 assists and two kills.

Kahuku outblocked Kamehameha 9-8.

“It was different from yesterday,” Jardin-Fermantez said, referring to a sweep of Pearl City. “But it was kind of a flashback of Punahou. That was good, to start practicing against that kind of blocks.”

Kahuku entered the tourney ranked No. 3 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. Kamehameha is No. 2 in the poll.


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