King Kekaulike keeps on knocking, but ‘Iolani advances

'Iolani’s Elena Oglivie (9) put down a kill past King Kekaulike’s Lyric Love (10) and Montana DiSegna (12) during the first set of a state quarterfinal match in 2018. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Coach Al Paschoal comes to Oahu for the state championships every year with his King Kekaulike team.

Even though it’s usually one and done in the championship bracket, his girls remain upbeat.

On Thursday night, Na Alii lost in four sets — 25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-8 — to ‘Iolani in the Division I quarterfinals of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships at Moanalua.

While the Raiders will be trying to get to the final in a semifinal matchup against Mililani on Friday night, King Kekaulike falls to the consolation bracket.

It’s a place they’re used to. Paschoal’s Na Alii made it as far as the semifinals on once, in 2016, when they lost 3-0 to Kamehameha.

In 2013 and 2017, King Kekaulike lost in the first round. This year, and in 2014 and 2015, Na Alii lost as seeded quarterfinalists with a first-round bye. The team also lost in a first-round match in 2012 under coach Jade Kapeka-Vares.

King Kekaulike’s Brooklynne Albrecht (left), Lauren Albrecht (center) and Julia Wagner celebrated a kill against ‘Iolani. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

That’s seven trips to the state tournament in a row. Na Alii keeps knocking on the door. Some day, the may get in the final.

Paschoal was also a co-head coach in 2017 for King Kekaulike’s boys team when it came to the state tournament and lost in the first round. Na Alii’s boys didn’t make the tourney last spring, but placed fifth in 2016 and fourth in 2014 and 2015 under various head coaches.

“They’re a good team, and Al does a great job with them,” ‘Iolani coach Kainoa Obrey said after vanquishing King Kekaulike on Thursday night. “They had a really good season on Maui. They came in fired up and we just kind of weathered it in Set 1. In Set 2, they came back out and we gave away some points. Our girls bounced back in three and four.”

Na Alii (14-1), ranked No. 3 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10, were seeded third in the tournament as the MIL D-I champions.

“I was a little frustrated,” Na Alii’s Kalena Vaivai, who had 26 assists and 10 digs, said after the match. It’s my last year and I wanted to do my best for my team.

Vaivai was holding back happy tears while adding, “Oh my gosh, we’re just a big happy family. They’re all my sisters and we go through it all together. I wish the best for them.”

Vaivai committed to play for Utah State next season.

Other Na Alii are getting college looks, according to Paschoal. Senior hitter Nohokula Lind is in talks with various D-I schools. Sophomore middle Annika Stammberger is also drawing interest.

“And there’s a couple of schools asking about (senior) defensive specialist Kiana Anakalea, who played lights out tonight (16 digs),” Paschoal said.

King Kekaulike setter Kalena Vaivai is headed to Utah State next season. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Obrey’s unseeded ‘Iolani team is going for a second state title in the last three years, but to do it, the Raiders (11-5) have to beat second-seeded and fourth-ranked Mililani (14-0) and then either top-seeded and top-ranked ILH champion Kamehameha (17-1) or unseeded and seventh-ranked Kahuku (14-2), whichever team survives the other semifinal.

“We embrace the challenge,” Obrey said. “We love the adversity and we want to go after it, and we want to play the best teams along the way.”

HHSAA D-I State Tournament

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Oct. 22Waianae vs. KS-HawaiiKSH 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14KS-Hawaii
2Oct. 22Moanalua vs. KS-MauiMoan 25-8, 25-20, 25-18KS-Maui
3Oct. 22Farrington vs. KahukuKah 16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-12Kahuku
4Oct. 22'Iolani vs. KapoleiIol 25-19, 25-15, 25-16'Iolani
5Oct. 25(4) Hilo vs. KahukuKah 25-12, 25-23, 25-19McKinley
6Oct. 25(1) Kamehameha vs. MoanaluaKSK 25-16, 25-12, 25-17McKinley
7Oct. 25(2) Mililani vs. KS-HawaiiMil 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17Moanalua
8Oct. 25(3) King Kekaulike vs. 'IolaniIol 25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-8Moanalua
9*Oct. 26Hilo vs. MoanaluaMoan 25-22, 25-22Moanalua
10*Oct. 26KS-Hawaii vs. King KekaulikeKSH 25-22, 27-25Moanalua
11Oct. 26Mililani vs. 'IolaniIol 25-17, 25-20, 25-14McKinley
12Oct. 26Kahuku vs. KamehamehaKSK 25-16, 25-22, 25-9McKinley
13*Oct. 27Moanalua vs. KS-HawaiiKSH 21-25, 25-13, 16-14Blaisdell Arena
14*Oct. 27Mililani vs. KahukuMil 25-27, 25-18, 15-4Blaisdell Arena
15Oct. 27'Iolani vs. KamehamehaIol 25-23, 25-21, 25-18Blaisdell Arena
* — consolation

HHSAA D-II State Tournament

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Oct. 24Konawaena vs. Sacred HeartsSH 25-7, 25-15, 25-12St. Francis
2Oct. 24(5) Waimea vs. HanaWaim 25-13, 14-25, 25-12, 25-16St. Francis
3Oct. 24Damien vs. Hawaii PrepDMS 25-13, 25-6, 25-8Kaimuki
4Oct. 24Leilehua vs. Le JardinLJA 25-14, 25-12, 25-17Kaimuki
5*Oct. 25Konawaena vs. HanaHana 27-25, 25-21St. Francis
6*Oct. 25Hawaii Prep vs. LeilehuaLei 25-16, 20-25, 15-5Kaimuki
7Oct. 25(4) Kaiser vs. WaimeaWaim 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 25-13St. Francis
8Oct. 25(1) Mid-Pacific vs. Sacred HeartsSH 25-12, 25-19, 7-25, 25-19St. Francis
9Oct. 25(3) Kohala vs. DamienDMS 25-11, 25-11, 25-19Kaimuki
10Oct. 25(2) Seabury Hall vs. Le JardinLJA 25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 25-15Kaimuki
11*Oct. 26Hana vs. LeilehuaHana 18-25, 25-20, 15-10Kaimuki
12*Oct. 26Kaiser vs. Mid-PacificMPI 25-21, 25-19Kaimuki
13*Oct. 26Kohala vs. Seabury HallSH 25-16, 25-22Kaimuki
14Oct. 26Damien vs. Le JardinLeJ 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17St. Francis
15Oct. 26Waimea vs. Sacred HeartsSH 25-22, 25-12, 25-16St. Francis
16*Oct. 27Mid-Pacific vs. Seabury HallMPI 15-25, 25-17, 15-7Blaisdell Arena
17*Oct. 27Damien vs. WaimeaDMS 25-9, 25-17Blaisdell Arena
18Oct. 27Le Jardin vs. Sacred HeartsSH 19-25, 26-24, 25-13, 25-17Blaisdell Arena
* — consolation


  1. Respect for the vanquished October 26, 2018 7:29 am

    After watching the quarterfinals at Moanalua last night, I think something should be said about the seeding for this year’s tournament. King Kekaulike absolutely deserved the #2 seed, thus avoiding a matchup with Iolani until the semifinal. Admittedly, I did not have the opportunity to watch Na Ali’i until last night, but I was very impressed with their athleticism in the front row.

    For the tournament seeding committee, was the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 not considered in your determination of seeds? While it may have been holding off the inevitable, as most are expecting to watch a 4th consecutive matchup of the 2 ILH representatives, but the seed would at least be justified by the rankings.

    To the players, coaches, and fans of King Kekaulike, I applaud you all for a great run to the State tournament.

  2. Over it October 27, 2018 2:37 am

    They should not have been ranked 2nd and definitely not 3rd in the state. Mililani, Kahuku and Moanalua would have beat them.

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