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(Sat) October 31, 2009

HHSAA Division I GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Kamehameha Wins Halloween Thriller, Fifth Straight Volleyball Crown

By Kyle Galdeira

Trailing two sets to one and behind by six points in the fourth frame, the outlook looked grim for the Kamehameha girls volleyball team and its attempt to knock off undefeated Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Punahou.

However, the Warriors put together a match-altering 13-1 run, won the set, and ran away with the ensuing fifth and deciding frame to down the Buffanblu 22-25, 25-18, 26-28, 25-23, 15-6 and wrap up their fifth straight New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championship tonight at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Center.

Taylor Akana paced the Warriors with 19 kills while teammate Nicole Sniffen added eight block assists. It was a block party for Kamehameha as the comeback was made possible by 15 points throughout the match coming via the block.

Kamehameha got out front first in the opening set, surging ahead 12-9 on the heels of a 6-0 run. However, following a timeout, Punahou scored seven consecutive points to take the lead—one it would not relinquish en route to the 25-22 first-set victory. Brigitte Russo led the Buffanblu with six kills while teammate Tai Manu-Olevao added five kills.

The Warriors (20-3) roared back to win the second set thanks in part to seven points via the block. Kamehameha closed out the frame on a 7-2 run started and finished by Taylor Akana who led the squad with five kills in the set. Fellow Warrior Misty Maa added three kills and two block assists in the set.

Punahou (21-1) reclaimed the momentum, however, in a back-and-forth third set that saw Kamehameha fight back from a 24-22 deficit only to lose 28-26 on Lahela Williams’ service ace. Buffanblu outside hitter Juliana Behrens racked up 10 kills in the frame, and managed to score three straight points on three different occasions.