Raise the red banner! The 14-year drought is over! On Tuesday, April 23, the 10-4 'Iolani Raiders upset the 12-3 Punahou Buff ’n Blue to capture the Division I Boys Volleyball Interscholastic League of Honolulu Championship title. Coming off a seven-game winning streak, the third-seeded Raiders capped off their third season win against the first-seeded Buff ’n Blue to earn their first ILH title since 2003. Although the Raiders started out slow in the first set, they swiftly came together to overpower the Buff ’n Blue to close out the next three sets. In order, the set scores followed: 23-25, 25-19, 25-21, and 25-19.
'Iolani played with incredible efficiency and energy, leaving the Punahou student section speechless on their home court. The Raiders’ experience and grit was on full display, recording only 7 errors through the contest while hitting at an impressive .384 rate.
The explosive power of Kupono Browne ’20 and Kawika Lee ’19 echoed through Punahou’s Hemmeter Fieldhouse. Browne led the Raiders with 19 kills. Lee’s relentless energy empowered his teammates and gave the boys an edge over the struggling Buff ’n Blues. Libero Jarin Simon ’19 was one of the keys to the Raiders’ defensive effort, recording a game high 8 digs, while the towering duo of Carter Kamana ’20, 6’ 3, and Makani Hiltner ’19, 6’ 7, recorded 5 and 6 assisted blocks respectively. The patient play of Setter Shane Harimoto ’19 provided the team with an outstanding 42 assists. Play after play, the boys didn’t allow a moment of silence from the 'Iolani student section. The Raiders’ endless hustle to keep the ball in play and dominance kept the crowd screaming for all of the Punahou campus to hear.
Now the boys have their eyes set on the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division I Championship Tournament and the state title. 'Iolani enters the tournament as a likely top seed and will look to match the Girls Varsity Volleyball team’s efforts and raise a black banner of their own. Make sure to catch the boys next Thursday against the winner of the Hilo v. Leileihua match.