PAHOA — The Konawaena boys volleyball team last won the BIIF championship in 1998, long before statewide classification started in 2005. If Gabriel Trevino keeps getting clean swings, that may soon change.
The girls program, under coach Ainsley Keawekane, has reached the pinnacle. The Wildcats pocketed the BIIF title and Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state championship last season. They’ve been to states three straight years.
The boys, under first-year coach Keawekane, are still searching for that state spot. But if there’s any year for the Wildcats to crack through, now is a good time in a season of parity. And Saturday was proof of that.
Konawaena rode the right arm of Trevino, who slammed 28 kills, and defeated Pahoa 20-25, 25-21, 18-25, 28-26, 15-9 in a BIIF Division II showdown at the Daggers Gym, throwing a huge dose of suspense into the league standings.
“Gabe’s our captain and most experienced player and controls the team points-wise,” said Konawaena assistant Joseph Wong, filling in for Keawekane, who was on Maui. “We really played with heart and had a drive to finish. We’ve struggled with that the whole season.
“Other than Trevino and Kalalena Santiago (both on Keawekane’s Hoopa club team), everyone else is in their first year. We’ve gone through some trials and tribulations this year.”
Santiago and Anthony Ward added 11 kills each for the Wildcats (3-7).
“I’ve had a higher kill total before, but 28 is still pretty high,” Trevino said. “We’ve just got to keep pushing. We really needed to pull out this one to try and get seeded for the playoffs. Everybody was really relaxed, we talked things out and played with heart.”
Virgil Stinnett slammed 15 kills, Torrell Thomas 11 and Travis Carvalho had six kills to lead the Daggers (2-5).
In Game 4, the Wildcats trailed 23-19, two points away from going home. Then it got worse when a hitting error dropped them into a 24-22 deficit.
But the hitting error bug flew across the net, and the Daggers had three straight attacking miscues. That tied it 25-25. Trevino smashed two of his 10 kills, and Troy Aukai served an ace to force a fifth set.
In Game 5, Santiago and Ward combined for a pair of blocks to help Konawaena to a 10-8 lead. On the last play, Trevino stood flat-footed and lobbed a soft shot that found the corner for match point.
At 6 feet 1, Trevino is the same height as his brother Dominick Trevino, a 2011 Kealakehe graduate, who played football at Valparaiso. The senior Wildcat prefers volleyball, though he played football and basketball at Konawaena.
“Volleyball is my strongest sport,” Trevino said. “It feels the most natural to me.”
Last season, he landed on the All-BIIF Division II first team at outside hitter. All of the other members are gone. Kama Paio, who was at HPA, transferred to Division I Waiakea.
Trevino was mostly in the middle against Pahoa, but took swings from the outside. He also showed an all-around package of skills, including a bullet jump-serve, steady passing and a nose for blocking.
“I think my passing is pretty good,” he said. “You can’t set without a pass. You can’t get a hit without a set. Everything starts with a pass. Our goal is we want to pull it out in BIIFs.”