Volleyball season doesn’t start in Hawaii until league play begins later this month, but those familiar battles might be cake compared to the preseason tournament schedule.
Five of the top 10 teams in the Star-Advertiser’s preseason poll are in action this week at the Ann Kang Invitational, trying to measure themselves against each other with a solid mainland field joining them.
The top school, defending state champion Kamehameha, will not be there but No. 2 Punahou, No. 3 ‘Iolani, No. 4 Kahuku, No. 5 Hawaii Baptist and No. 7 Moanalua will be.
‘Iolani, HBA and Moanalua are all in the same pool, the schedule can be found here.
The Buffanblu and Raiders can’t face each other until the latter stages, but the warmup is just as enticing. Punahou opens with Moanalua and ‘Iolani gets three mainland powers on Thursday.
Here is the initial Star-Advertiser poll. Players returning and lost include Fab 15, all-state honorable mention and league all stars.
Return: Kayla Afoa (2), Kili Robins (11), Kyra Hanawahine (12), Lexis Akeo
Lost: Shiloh Peleres (4). Brooke Kaawa (7)
Notes: Returning the best outside hitter in the state Kayla, great setter Lexis, and awesome libero, Kyra.
Lost: Brandee Markwith (8), Dallas Lishman (13), Kiana Peroff, Vonica Malufau, Lillie Klemmer
Notes: Savannah Green playing this year, so a 6+ Outside and 6+ setter can’t be too shabby and they always have experience whether they are young or not.
Return: Ana Oglivie, Saige Kaahaaina-Torres
Lost: Bailey Choy (1), Moea Kekauha (3), Sierra Buscher (6), Tatiana Calimpong-Burke, Emily Sunada
Notes: Lost some great talent, but the change in culture and the hunger of losing in last year’s final can’t be discounted.
Return: Carey Williams (9), Laulive Tonga, Cheyenne Teo
Lost: Jasmine Niutupuivaha, Laken Teo
Notes: Get to run the same system for the second year in a row for the first time in a long time, the familiarity makes Williams even more dangerous for a Final-Four team from a year ago.
5. HAWAII BAPTIST
Return: Ally Wada (14), Keri Lum, Kailey Young, Kallie Langford, Britney O’Donnell, Brienna Nishimura
Lost: Madison Tanabe
Notes: Breakout season last year, super good ball handling, interesting to see at Ann Kang how they hang with the big dogs, since they have some size and power at outside, unreal athletic setter Ally, and maybe the most consistent lib in the state. Scheduled to play in the Kang, Kamehameha’s tournament and Durango so they will know what they have early.
Return: Jayleen Abregana. Michelyn Pililaau, Anela Lee Pakaki
Lost: Malia Transfiguration
Notes: Plenty of talent back for a run at their first OIA title but Moanalua is still in the way.
Lost: Johanna Kruize (5), Lindsey Ng
Notes: Still quite possibly the best ball-handling team in the state. They are ranked behind Kapolei but still wear the OIA crown until someone takes it away.
Return: Hope Carter, Katie Asbery, Ashley Powliak, Kahea Aea
Notes: Two years removed from their last OIA title, but Crabbe has a lot of talent back
9. LE JARDIN
Return: Kassidy Naone (15), Nina Krupa, Julia Fisher, Natalie Piper
Lost: Taylor Souza
Notes: Really good from last year, Lamb will have them battling HBA for Division II supremacy and a repeat of last year’s state final.
Lost: Chanelle Molina (10)
Notes: Plenty of Molinas to keep the dynasty going, last year’s first-round loss to Le Jardin has got to be bothering them still.
Other receiving votes include, in order of votes received: