VB: Punahou has a change of heart

On Tuesday, the state’s No. 1 girls volleyball team, Punahou, was set to participate in this weekend’s Bump, Set and Spike for the Cure exhibition tournament at La Pietra.

By Wednesday, the Buffanblu had a change of heart. Citing concern about injury risk before next week’s state championships, Punahou pulled out of the event.

The tourney will still have No. 2 Kamehameha, No. 4 Hawaii Baptist and Word of Life, plus host La Pietra. Kamehameha has already secured a berth in the state tourney, while HBA and Word of Life will compete for the Division II state title.

Kamehameha will play Word of Life at noon, and HBA will play La Pietra at 2 p.m. An intermission at 1:15 p.m. features guest speakers and contests.

The event is a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for Cure, a grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists.

Punahou hasn’t won the state crown since 2004, when Randy Nako was coach. That makes the pullout understandable, though current coach Jim Iams had no reservations about playing during an interview on Tuesday.

Iams didn’t like the idea of his team going without competition for more than a week.

“It’s the longest layoff we’ve had,” he said, noting that the risk of injuries is worth taking.

“That’s everybody’s concern, but you can’t lock them up in a closet. It could happen just scrimmaging your own team.”


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