Wade’s World: Kainoa Wade and Co. Lead Kamehameha-Kapālama By KS-Hawaii, Advance to 2023 HHSAA Division 1 Boys Volleyball State Title Match 


MOANALUA — The Kamehameha-Kapālama Warriors (12-3) marched past the KS-Hawaii Warriors (14-2) in three sets (25-16, 25-15, 25-17) Friday night at Moanalua High School. The ILH’s Warriors advanced to the 2023 HHSAA Division 1 state championship match Saturday night against fellow ILH squad, Punahou. 

Kamehameha-Kapālama took the opening set, 25-16, after pulling away late in the frame. The two Kamehameha schools traded points early to start the match, with KS- Kapālama holding a slight 14-10 lead just after the midway point. 

The Warriors from the ILH continued a strong opening by holding their Big Island counterparts at bay for the remainder of set one, led by Kainoa Wade’s consistent heavy hand and perfect placement on the way to the 25-16 win and 1-0 set lead.

KS-Hawaii looked to answer quickly in the second set, jumping out to an early 5-3 lead over their Oahu counterparts. Kamehameha-Kapālama struggled from the service line in the second frame, with a pair of service errors leading to points for the BIIF champs.

The Big Island squad was unable to hold on to the lead for long after going up 8-5, as KS- Kapālama scored four straight points to take a 9-8 lead. The teams continued short scoring bursts throughout the set, with the ILH squad holding a three-point lead midway through the second frame.

KS-Hawaii answered back with a 3-0 run of their own to tie things back up at 13 before Wade put his fingerprints all over the set again to reclaim the lead for Kamehameha-Kapālama and grow it to four, 19-15.

Following a timeout from the Big Island’s Kamehameha, Oahu’s own Kamehameha scored three more points behind a turn from Wade at the service line to make it 22-15 in the blink of an eye. Feeling the pressure, KS-Hawaii called another timeout to try and stop the Warriors’ momentum.

The effort proved futile, as Kamehameha-Kapālama closed out the set on an 8-0 run fueled by Wade’s dominance to take a 2-0 set lead over KS-Hawaii. The Warriors from Oahu took the second set by a larger margin, 25-15, than the first over KS-Hawaii. 

The BIIF champions, fighting for their state tournament life, jumped out to an early 4-2 lead in the third set of the night down by two sets. Kamehameha-Kapālama quickly struck back with four straight points to reclaim the lead and sent Wade back to the service line with an 8-5 advantage.

Wade added two more points on his turn before turning the serve back to the Big Island competitors. KS-Kapālama’s elite defense returned the ball to the Warriors quickly as they grew the lead to six, 13-7, forcing a timeout from KS-Hawaii.

The advantage for KS-Kapālama grew to double-digits, 19-9, after a Wade denial at the net. The regular season champions from the BIIF wouldn’t go quietly, going point-for-point with their Oahu opponents to keep the set alive and stealing a few late points before finally falling, 25-17. 

Leading the way for KS-Hawaii was senior middle blocker/outside hitter Nauhikapakea Liwis, who had seven kills in the match. The BIIF D1 champions, who fell for just the second time all season, also had three players turn in five-kill efforts.

KS-Hawaii will play Saturday at 3:30 p.m. HST at the Cannon Center in the third-place match with Moanalua, who fell earlier Thursday in a five-set classic against Punahou.

The Warriors of KS-Kapālama were paced by Wade’s 17 kills, as the sophomore tossed in a pair of service aces and five blocks for good measure in the win. Brayden Van Karen dished out 21 assists in the match for the Warriors. 

Kamehameha-Kapālama advances to the state title match where the Warriors will see a familiar foe. The HHSAA Division 1 boys volleyball state championship marks the seventh meeting between Punahou and KS-Kapālama this season.

First serve is expected around 7:00 p.m. HST at the Cannon Center.

The Warriors have already clinched the season series, winning four of the six matchups played already, but look for the most important win yet. Punahou enters Saturday as the only D1 program to lift the state crown since 2011, when Kamehameha-Kapālama won the state tournament under the direction of Kainoa Downing.