Maui Warriors win invitational tournament

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Photo by Ka Leo o Na Koa staff

Junior Iwalani Kaaa celebrates a successful play when the Kamehameha Maui volleyball girls played Sage Hill High School at the 2011 Maui Inviational Tournament, August 20. The Maui Warriors went on to take first place when they defeated Hawai'i Baptist Academy in the finals that night.

The Kamehameha Maui Warriors girls volleyball team scores the final point to win the third set of the championship match, 25-15, at the 2011 Maui Volleyball Invitational, August 20.

By Nicole Kaauamo, Sports Co-Editor

The KSM girls volleyball team defeated Hawai’i Baptist Academy in the finals to win the Maui Invitational Tournament tonight at Ka’ulaheanuiokamoku Gym.

They first defeated Sage Hill in a three-game match, 25-22, 26-27, 26-24, earlier in the day. All three sets were tight, and only a few points separated the teams at the end of each game. But multiple errors by Sage Hill were just the opening the Warriors needed to put the pressure on and win the third set to take the match.

The Warriors then faced the Hawai’i Baptist Eagles for the second time in this tournament.  The first set got off to a rough start with an ace by HBA, but a tip and ace by junior Bobbi Kalama brought them into the lead.  Another tip by Anuhea Ka’iaokamalie ended another HBA run at 4-9.  The teams rallied in a game where fans heatedly debated many of the in and out calls.

HBA led by 7 until junior Sienna Davis had an 8-point service run, narrowing the score to 14-16.  The Warriors ended up losing the set 22-25 on a block that went out.

The second set also started on a bad note with HBA almost immediately going on a service run. The Warriors trailed 2-7.  Kills by Davis and junior Sheylin Patao helped to stop another run. KSM struggled with blocking this set, with most hits being deflected out or eluding the block. They also made more hitting errors than in the first set, and trailed until mid-game.

The game was up and up from 14-14 thanks to scrappy defense from both teams and more debatable calls that had fans, athletes, and coaches on alert, but KSM came back from behind and won the set 26-24.

The Warriors had their best start in the third set when HBA served the first serve out.  The Warriors immediately went on a four-point streak.  They sided out, but got the ball back with a block by Davis and junior Leimana Kane.  And in a game that looked much like yesterday’s third set against HBA, KSM kept the lead for the entire set. A tip by Kane ended it at 25-15.

Kamehameha Coach Bala Spencer said that winning this tournament meant accomplishing their first goal, which “sums it [the tournament] up.”

Hawai’i Baptist Coach  Myles Shioji said that this tournament was helpful for his team as well. “We’re just happy to be competing at a high level, and Kamehameha’s a good team,” he said.

This was an opportunity for both teams to pinpoint what they need to work on before the regular season.

KSM starts their Maui Interscholastic League season on September 6 against Lahainaluna.