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.
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.
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
|1||Oct. 22||Waianae vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH 17-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 16-14||KS-Hawaii|
|2||Oct. 22||Moanalua vs. KS-Maui||Moan 25-8, 25-20, 25-18||KS-Maui|
|3||Oct. 22||Farrington vs. Kahuku||Kah 16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-12||Kahuku|
|4||Oct. 22||'Iolani vs. Kapolei||Iol 25-19, 25-15, 25-16||'Iolani|
|5||Oct. 25||(4) Hilo vs. Kahuku||Kah 25-12, 25-23, 25-19||McKinley|
|6||Oct. 25||(1) Kamehameha vs. Moanalua||KSK 25-16, 25-12, 25-17||McKinley|
|7||Oct. 25||(2) Mililani vs. KS-Hawaii||Mil 25-20, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17||Moanalua|
|8||Oct. 25||(3) King Kekaulike vs. 'Iolani||Iol 25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-8||Moanalua|
|9*||Oct. 26||Hilo vs. Moanalua||Moan 25-22, 25-22||Moanalua|
|10*||Oct. 26||KS-Hawaii vs. King Kekaulike||KSH 25-22, 27-25||Moanalua|
|11||Oct. 26||Mililani vs. 'Iolani||Iol 25-17, 25-20, 25-14||McKinley|
|12||Oct. 26||Kahuku vs. Kamehameha||KSK 25-16, 25-22, 25-9||McKinley|
|13*||Oct. 27||Moanalua vs. KS-Hawaii||KSH 21-25, 25-13, 16-14||Blaisdell Arena|
|14*||Oct. 27||Mililani vs. Kahuku||Mil 25-27, 25-18, 15-4||Blaisdell Arena|
|15||Oct. 27||'Iolani vs. Kamehameha||Iol 25-23, 25-21, 25-18||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|
HHSAA D-II State Tournament
|1||Oct. 24||Konawaena vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 25-7, 25-15, 25-12||St. Francis|
|2||Oct. 24||(5) Waimea vs. Hana||Waim 25-13, 14-25, 25-12, 25-16||St. Francis|
|3||Oct. 24||Damien vs. Hawaii Prep||DMS 25-13, 25-6, 25-8||Kaimuki|
|4||Oct. 24||Leilehua vs. Le Jardin||LJA 25-14, 25-12, 25-17||Kaimuki|
|5*||Oct. 25||Konawaena vs. Hana||Hana 27-25, 25-21||St. Francis|
|6*||Oct. 25||Hawaii Prep vs. Leilehua||Lei 25-16, 20-25, 15-5||Kaimuki|
|7||Oct. 25||(4) Kaiser vs. Waimea||Waim 25-19, 25-23, 17-25, 25-13||St. Francis|
|8||Oct. 25||(1) Mid-Pacific vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 25-12, 25-19, 7-25, 25-19||St. Francis|
|9||Oct. 25||(3) Kohala vs. Damien||DMS 25-11, 25-11, 25-19||Kaimuki|
|10||Oct. 25||(2) Seabury Hall vs. Le Jardin||LJA 25-20, 25-17, 23-25, 25-15||Kaimuki|
|11*||Oct. 26||Hana vs. Leilehua||Hana 18-25, 25-20, 15-10||Kaimuki|
|12*||Oct. 26||Kaiser vs. Mid-Pacific||MPI 25-21, 25-19||Kaimuki|
|13*||Oct. 26||Kohala vs. Seabury Hall||SH 25-16, 25-22||Kaimuki|
|14||Oct. 26||Damien vs. Le Jardin||LeJ 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-17||St. Francis|
|15||Oct. 26||Waimea vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 25-22, 25-12, 25-16||St. Francis|
|16*||Oct. 27||Mid-Pacific vs. Seabury Hall||MPI 15-25, 25-17, 15-7||Blaisdell Arena|
|17*||Oct. 27||Damien vs. Waimea||DMS 25-9, 25-17||Blaisdell Arena|
|18||Oct. 27||Le Jardin vs. Sacred Hearts||SH 19-25, 26-24, 25-13, 25-17||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|