It was a joyous occasion for ‘Iolani when it clinched a girls volleyball state-tournament berth at midseason.
The Raiders, who went on to take the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I championship, hadn’t been to the states since 2007.
Despite going 4-1 in regular-season and playoff games against Kamehameha, the Raiders fell short of winning it all to the Warriors in a five-set state-final showdown at Blaisdell Arena on Oct. 31. When next season rolls around, ‘Iolani will still be seeking its first state title since 2001.
It was so close this year. Sierra Buscher, who was named to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Fab 15 on Sunday, came off the court in a huff. She just couldn’t believe the Raiders lost by a mere three points (15-12 in the fifth set) after such a euphoric season-long ride.
Less than a week after the loss, Buscher watched the TV replay of the match several times.
“Of course, I was pissed off,” she said. “But it was so great to watch. It made me tired just watching all those long rallies. It was great volleyball.”
Moea Kekauoha, another Fab 15 choice for the Raiders, couldn’t believe all of the supporters the team gained.
“It felt so wonderful,” she said. “I’ve thanked everyone at school multiple times for supporting us.”
Honolulu Star-Advertiser player of the year Bailey Choy, a Raiders setter who has been a big name in state high school volleyball circles for a while and someone you would tend to think may have been at the states before, had a reminder of just how special the season was: “This is the first season we got this far. We were able to finally experience a state tournament and coming this far is untradeable for anything.”