It was a banner year for the Island Pacific Academy girls volleyball team.
The Navigators under coach Stan Vincent won the ILH Division III championship for the third time. By doing that, they qualified for a play-in game for the league’s D-II tournament.
Even though IPA lost that play-in game to La Pietra in three sets, the Navigators finished 11-1.
“We still had a fantastic season,” Vincent said. “I have been coaching for over 40 years, 12 at IPA, and this season was the most fun. Just the positive energy of the girls was fantastic.”
He pointed to three players who were crucial to the team’s success: sophomore Sophia Holmen, junior Lawren Santana and senior Kira Merl.
Holmen, an outside hitter and a transfer from North Dakota, averaged more than four kills per set. Santana, a co-captain and another outside hitter averaged more than two kills per set. Merl, a middle and the other co-captain, added another four kills per set in addition to her blocking duties.
Merl, a transfer from Virginia, was picked as the team’s MVP.
Holmen provided one more benefit, teaching the team a country line dance that IPA used as part of their warmup for every match, according to Vincent.
Navigators athletic director Greg Terhune thought the second set against Division II La Pietra (a 25-22 loss) was impressive.
“We were so proud of our team for the way they represented us on the court this season,” he said.
Island Pacific also won ILH D-III girls volleyball titles in 2012 and 2014.