HILO — Kamehameha, blessed with a deep and talented roster, should be tagged as the team to beat this year when the Big Island Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball season opens later this month.
The private-school Warriors, under head coach Kyle Kaaa, showcased their 19-player varsity roster as the 10-team Hilo High preseason tournament wrapped up Saturday afternoon at Hilo Armory.
Kaaa divided his varsity squad into two teams — Kamehameha White and Kamehameha Blue — and they met in the Hilo High tourney’s Gold Division final. Kamehameha White rallied to defeat their teammates 16-25, 25-24, 15-8 in a well-played match.
“We have a big squad this year,” Kaaa said. “We have 19 players on the varsity and 13 on the junior varsity. On the varsity level, we’re blessed with a strong nucleus, and we’re deep in every position. I think that showed in this tournament, and that’s going to be the challenge for us all year. In practice we’re going to have to be very competitive and fight for the positions. We may see the starting lineup change week from week since it’s what you do in practice that will determine how much you’ll play in the games.”
Kaaa said the tournament gave all of his varsity players, as well as the Warriors JV squad, a chance to play.
“I’m very happy with how the tournament went,” he said. “All of our girls got to play a lot, and you can see how the level of play on the Big Island has improved.
“I give a lot of credit to the club coaches. They work with the players over the summer in sharpening their skills and playing a lot of games. When I get the girls, I just have to refine a few things and try to get them to play within our system.
“But I want to say kudos to those club coaches who have helped raise the level of play in the BIIF, because more and more of the kids are playing year-round,” Kaaa said.
The deep Kamehameha roster could also pay dividends for the Warriors this season when they, along with other BIIF teams, play double matches on Saturday.
The Warriors coach will look to seniors Sage Kanakaole, an outside hitter, and Acia Kaaa, his daughter and a versatile setter, for leadership this season.
In the silver division final Saturday, Pahoa Green edged Kamehameha-HI (Kamehameha’s JV squad) 25-24, 24-25, 15-9.
In other matches Saturday, it was: Kamehameha White def. Hilo Gold 25-19, 25-14; Kamehameha-HI. def. Hilo Blue 25-17, 25-23; Pahoa Green def. Pahoa White 25-24, 25-8; Hilo Blue def. Honokaa 25-13, 25-16; Pahoa Green def. Honokaa 25-16, 25-20; Hilo Blue def. Pahoa Green 25-22, 25-23; Kamehameha White def. Honokaa 25-13, 25-10; Kamehameha-HI split with Honokaa 25-22, 21-25; Ka‘u def. Laupahoehoe 25-7, 25-5; Kamehameha Blue def. Ka‘u 25-15, 25-24; Ka‘u split with Hilo Gold 18-25, 25-13; Ka‘u def. Pahoa White 25-13, 25-15; and Kamehameha White def. Ka‘u 25-22, 25-24.
c Notes: Next week is the eight-team St. Joseph preseason girls volleyball tournament at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. The host Cardinals will be joined in the three-day event by Ka‘u, Kealakehe, Hilo, Konawaena, Waiakea, Hawaii Prep and Kamehameha.