The Pilipaa 17’s finished with a 3-0 match record through the first day of pool play in the AAU National Championship Tournament on Friday in Orlando, Florida.
The Big Island girls high school-level team is 3-0 in its pool, with a 6-0 game record. Pilipaa is playing in the tournament’s 17’s Premium Division — “a division between Open and Club divisions in the national tournament,” according to Pilipaa head coach Chris Leonard.
On Friday, Pilipaa beat Nook 17 Elite of Pennsylvania 25-19, 25-22, topped the Asics Team Indiana Elite 17 Open team 28-26, 25-20, and highly regarded Coast 17-2 Kane from California 25-19, 25-8.
The win over Coast 17-2 Kane was a bit of revenge since the California squad eliminated Pilipaa from gold medal contention at last summer’s Las Vegas Classic. Pilipaa placed fifth out of 142 teams in the division.
Leonard said Pilipaa played its best game of the day against Coast 17-2 Kane in the second game Friday. The Big Islanders started with a sideout and then scored 11 straight points with Alison Fuata at the service line. Leonard also noted that Kaiu Ahuna “was virtually unstoppable on the outside,” and when Coast tried to double-block her, Zoe Leonard was able to connect with middles Kadara Marshall and Keala Watson and opposite Taylor Alicuben.
“Libero Kamalani Fujikawa played her best match of the day as well with excellent passes and numerous digs,” Leonard said.
Pilipaa will open Day 2 with a matchup with Inside Out 17 Black at 3 a.m. Hawaii time Saturday.