Pilipaa finished 3-0 in pool play Sunday before falling to LAVA from Los Angeles 16-25, 25-23, 15-11 in a challenge match to get into the gold medal bracket of the 41st AAU National Volleyball Championship tournament in Orlando, Florida.
The Big Island girls high school-level team improved to 8-1 in matches through Sunday’s pool play of the tournament’s 17s Premium Division.
Pilipaa, under head coach Chris Leonard, completed pool play Sunday with wins over NSA, 25-21, 25-22, Elite VBTC 17 Black, 25-18, 25-11, and previously unbeaten Team Pineapple of Indiana, 25-20, 25-15.
With the win, LAVA L.A. advanced to the gold medal bracket while Pilipaa dropped into the silver bracket. The Big Islanders play in the consolation bracket Monday and could finish as high as 10th if they win all three matches.
“It was a tough loss for the team, but I’m extraordinarilly proud of our girls,” Leonard said. “We went from the team that many looked past to the team that had coaches saying you don’t want to see late in this tournament.
“We received countless comments from opposing coaches, players and referees about how good the team played and how fun we were to watch.
“Numerous college coaches gathered for most of our games and we look forward to the opportunities that this will provide for our girls in the near future.”