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(Fri) October 30, 2009

HHSAA Division I GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Punahou Prevails, Advances to Face Kamehameha for State Title

By Kyle Galdeira

Punahou kept its undefeated season going Friday evening, downing Moanalua in straight sets 25-19, 25-17, 25-23 behind 16 kills from Brigitte Russo and 11 kills from outside hitter Juliana Behrens in the semifinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships at McKinley High School’s Student Council Gym.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Buffanblu will meet league rival and runner-up Kamehameha in Saturday’s Division I championship match in the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the action can be seen live on OC-16 television.

Punahou (21-0) erased a 17-15 deficit midway through the first set with a 9-1 run to take back the momentum from a scrappy Menehune squad tasked with overcoming a distinct height disadvantage.

The Buffanblu kept the pressure on in the ensuing game, jumping out to an 11-6 advantage on an emphatic kill from Russo. Punahou then surged to a 17-7 lead thanks to Lahela Williams’ second ace of the set. While Moanalua was able to trim the deficit to 23-17 late in the frame, the Buffanblu held on to win the set, fittingly, on an ace from Williams.

Moanalua (16-4) fought hard throughout the final set, hanging on to tie the score at 9-9 and again at 22 apiece. But, Punahou regrouped and claimed three of the next four points to secure the win. Gabriela Matautia paced the Menehune with 12 kills and three blocks in defeat.