Debbie Lambert’s explosive jumps made her a star on the track field and a commanding outside hitter in volleyball. At Punahou, she won state championships in the long jump, high jump, triple jump and low hurdles. She also is one of only two women to have earned three most outstanding performer awards at the Punahou Relays.
As a senior, she helped return Punahou to volleyball dominance. “She was the beginning of that changing of the guard, and she went through a three-year evolution of experimenting with her competitiveness,” said coach Peter Balding ’77.
In 1993, Punahou was third in the ILH leading up to the final state tournament, and the two-week break helped the team rest and allowed Lambert to develop a new serve. In the first match of the tournament, she had multiple aces, giving her team a new secret weapon and a few guaranteed points. Punahou won the state championship, its first in 20 years, and Lambert was named All-State Volleyball Player of the Year.
“Debbie was hands-down the best player in the gym three nights in a row,” Balding said. “No one could stop her. She was an extremely hard worker and physically, she pushed the limit. She pushed it as hard as she could.”
She continued competing at Stanford University, where she helped her team win three national volleyball championships.