HHSAA Division I volleyball: Kamehameha-Hawaii powers into final
Like only he can, senior Evan Enriques delivered again to lift Kamehameha-Hawaii to the state championship game. This time, it took him no fewer than 104 swings.
Enriques was credited with 40 kills on Friday night, and the Warriors needed each one to fight past Moanaloa 24-26, 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 16-14 in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division I volleyball semifinals at McKinley High School in Honolulu.
Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion Kamehameha (15-0) advances to the state final for the second time in three years, and just like the last time they will face perennial power Punahou, which swept King Kekaulike in the other semifinal. The match starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at Blaisdell Center in Honolulu.
In 2012, the Buffanblu won the title in five sets, 15-13 in Game 5, holding off Enriques (42 kills), who compiled 111 kills in three matches at states as a sophomore.
Friday’s semifinal featured similar back-and-forth drama, but instead of having just one brother to rely on like two years ago, Enriques had three.
Junior Emmett Enriques posted nine kills and a match-high 17 digs, according to HHSAA statistics, and freshmen twins Avery and Addison Enriques recorded 25 and 21 assists, respectively.
Kamehameha fell behind 18-14 in the fourth set, but it rallied out of a timeout. Avery Enriques’ ace tied the set 21-21, and Evan Enriques’s kill set up set point.
Luuga Vailuu led the Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Surfriders (17-1) with 18 kills. Second-seeded Moanaloa finished with two more kills than the Warriors (61-59) and owned a slight attack percentage advantage (.182-.147).
The No. 3 Warriors profited from 10 aces, including a match-high four from Evan Enriques. who hit .260 and added 16 digs. Sophomore Isaiah Laeha finished with five kills and three block assists and junior Keakaulike Alameda had 16 digs.
In the earlier semifinal, two-time defending state champion Punahou hit a remarkable .707 in a 25-9, 25-15, 25-15 victory. Micah Ma’a (11 kills, .917) and Larry Tiuleta (10 kills, .714), each a 6-foot-3 outside hitter, led the way.
The Buffanblu are trying to extend a string of dominance that has seen a Interscholastic League of Oahu team win each Division I tournament dating back to 1980.
A BIIF team has reached one of the state finals in six of the past seven years. In Division II, Hilo finished runners-up in 2008 and ‘09, and Pahoa lost in the final in 2010 and last season.
Saturday, Kamehameha will try to become the first state champion from the Big Island since Hilo took the crown in 1969.
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