HILO — Hawaii Prep rode a strong attack and steady serving to beat the host Cardinals 25-19, 25-17 in pool play Friday in the St. Joseph High School girls preseason volleyball tournament
The three-day, eight-team tournament wraps up today at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Action starts at 10 a.m. with the Gold and Silver bracket championship matches scheduled at 3:30 p.m.
HPA, under coach Sharon Peterson, struggled at times on Thursday, finishing pool play with a 3-3 record. But on Friday against the previously unbeaten Cardinals (6-2), Ka Makani did all of the little things well in chalking up the victory.
“(Gabielle Ewing) was a workhorse for us and as a team, we just played better. It’s something positive to build on,” Peterson said.
The teams fought hard through both games, but down the stretch Ka Makani maintained momentum and handed the Cardinals their first losses in the tournament.
“It was a good match,” St. Joseph coach Noel Navarro said. “But we had too many mental errors, and we didn’t bring the same intensity that we brought to Thursday’s games.”
Ka Makani didn’t have much time to celebrate their win over St. Joseph. They had to come right back and battle Ka‘u in a pool match immediately following the HPA-St. Joseph games.
Ka‘u then knocked off HPA for the second straight time in the tournament, pulling out a 25-23, 25-22 victory. On Thursday, the Trojans topped Ka Makani 25-17, 25-22.
Following pool play Friday, the eight teams were divided into Gold and Silver brackets based on their records. Those four teams in each bracket will battle for the Gold and Silver titles, respectively, today at the Civic.
“It’s been a really good tournament with a lot of competitive games,” St. Joseph athletic director Chloe Thurston said. “We should have some close games (today), and it looks like almost any team can beat any other team.
“For volleyball fans, it should a good day with a lot of exciting matches.”