Hawai’i Prep Powers Past Ka’u to Claim BIIF DII VB Title
Just a few months ago, Sharon Peterson had just five boys interested in playing volleyball.
Thanks to a campus-wide recruiting effort and a lot of teaching and patience, Peterson not only fielded a team, but sculpted a championship volleyball team.
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy used its size and energy to push past Ka’u, last year’s league champion, in four sets to claim the 2015 Big Island Interscholastic Federation Division II Boys Volleyball Championship, contested at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.
Set scores were 25-23, 25-17, 20-25, and 25-14.
“We didn’t know if we were going to have a volleyball program. We had to go out and beg,” said Peterson of her on-campus recruiting effort. “Maybe, it turned out okay. The guys are just sensational. They are open to learning and they really got together and found that synergy.”
Hawai’i Prep (11-5) was in danger of losing the first set of the match, but a pair of aces by Abe Binder, a tall, steady handed athlete, quickly turned the tide on the set, putting HPA up 24-23. On the final point of the set, Ka Makani’s size forced a hitting error from Ka’u senior Cameron “Kai” Enriques, who struck a ball wide down the left sideline to close out the opening set.
The tight win in the first set allowed HPA to carry that momentum to a second set victory, but the Trojans, an inexperienced but gritty group, rode the arms of Enriques and fellow senior Brian Gascon to give their team a chance in the match.
Ka’u (10-5) seemed to run out of gas in the final set, as Hawai’i Prep’s size and camaraderie gave them enough of an edge to pull through.
Tucker Higgins clubbed down 15 kills, while Binder clubbed down 12 kills and Ghar Pautz added nine. Colin Yates had eight kills and a pair of aces.
Enriques and Gascon pulled their weight on the attack for Ka’u, combining for 41 kills. HPA’s block played a part in keeping that number from growing higher. It also played a role in silencing the rest of the Trojans, who combined for just four kills. Shaky defense in the Trojans’ back row also hindered them throughout the match.
Both teams will compete at the New City Nissan/Hawai’i High School Athletic Association Division II Boys Volleyball Championships, held May 14-16 on Oahu.
Hawai’i Prep 25 25 20 25 – 3
Ka’u 23 17 25 14 – 1