The Kamehameha Schools Kapālama girls volleyball team fell behind early, but rallied when it counted to secure a 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-16, 25-21) victory over Interscholastic League of Honolulu rival Punahou Saturday night before a frenzied crowd at Neal S. Blaisdell Arena.
The victory marked the Warriors’ 22nd New City Nissan/Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division I Girls Volleyball State Championship in program history.
Senior hitter Keonilei Akana, who has committed to play volleyball and study at the University of Southern California, led the way with 22 kills and earned tournament most outstanding player honors. Joining Akana on the all-tournament team were libero Tara De Sa (28 digs), Devin Kahahawai (15 kills, 7 digs), Maui Robins (13 kills, 8 digs) and Bryanne Soares (50 assists, 8 digs).
“I’m so proud of our team and what we accomplished,” said Akana, a four-year varsity player. “It took a lot of dedication and hard work throughout the season.”
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Warriors (15-2) have now won 10 state crowns under the guidance of coach Chris Blake, a 1991 KS Kapālama graduate who also heads up a new celestial navigation and traditional Polynesian voyaging program at the high school level.
“I think we played our best match of the season tonight, I’m really proud of the resilience of our team,” said Blake. “We play for those who came before us, those with us now and those who will play in the future – it’s our kuleana to do that. These girls showed the Warrior champions that they are, and I’m very proud of them.”
Squads from KS Hawai‘i and KS Maui also participated in the state tournament. The Warriors from Kea‘au fell to Punahou in the quarterfinal round, while the KS Maui came up short against Le Jardin to open the tournament.