A block by Tai Manu-Olevao and an ace by Lahela Williams sparked Punahou in the final set in a comeback win over Kahuku this afternoon at the Ann Kang Invitational.
Punahou rallied for a 16-25, 25-23, 15-9 win in the semifinals of the Gold Bracket.
Punahou will face Redondo Union (Calif.) tonight in the final.
Manu-Olevao, a 6-foot sophomore, added two quick kills to help the Buffanblu take a 6-2 lead in the third game. Kahuku got no closer the rest of the way, succumbing to some errors and consistent play from Punahou libero Kat Brooks.
Kahuku, which lost to Moanalua on Tuesday in an Oahu Interscholastic Association season opener, caught fire during the Ann Kang tourney.
Amanda Tonga, a 6-1 middle blocker, was rarely challenged at the net, and Elizabeth Blake was instrumental to Kahuku’s success in the back row while bringing valuable swings at the outside hitter spot.
Kahuku may have run out of gas in the end, having played eight matches in the tourney plus one on Tuesday.
Redondo Union looks like the hottest team in the tourney, or at least the tallest, going into the finals of the Gold Bracket tonight at the Ann Kang Invitational Girls Volleyball Tournament.
The Sea Hawks swept ‘Iolani 25-8, 25-14 in a semifinal this afternoon — a disappointing performance for a Raiders team that had played quite well through 3 1/2 days.
The other local teams in the tourney continued to show glimpses of potential.
Mid-Pacific defeated Kaiser to win the Flight Bracket. Moanalua got past Molokai to win the Bronze Bracket. Na Menehune is a solid contender to win the OIA Red, while Molokai is a serious contender for the Division II state title.
Word of Life edged Maryknoll for third place in the Bronze Bracket. The Firebrands are another potential D-II state contender.
Defending D-II state champion Hawaii Baptist is in the running for the Silver Bracket title. Farrington is playing Edison in the other Silver semifinal.
With defending state champion Kamehameha idle this week and Punahou in the Ann Kang Gold Bracket final, voters in the Star-Bulletin Girls Volleyball Top 10 will have plenty of food for thought when ballots are sent out tomorrow.
Moanalua def. Maryknoll 25-23, 25-19
Mid-Pacific def. Van Nuys 25-18, 25-19
Molokai def. Word of Life 25-21, 25-16
Kaiser def. Iolani B 25-20, 25-18
Word of Life def. Maryknoll 23-25, 25-21, 15-13, Bronze Bracket third place
Van Nuys def. Iolani B 19-25, 25-20, 17-15, Flight Bracket third place
Moanalua def. Molokai 25-14, 25-18, Bronze Bracket final
Mid-Pacific def. Kaiser 25-20, 27-25, Flight Bracket final
Redondo Union def. ‘Iolani 25-8, 25-14, Gold Bracket semifinal
Farrington vs. Edison, Silver Bracket semifinal
Punahou vs. Kahuku, Gold Bracket semifinal
Hawaii Baptist vs. Mater Dei, Silver Bracket semifinal
Final four matches TBA, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.