Val Crabbe’s Mililani girls volleyball team was a pretty busy bunch in the preseason, but the coach had little choice.
It may have been Mililani’s only chance to see quality competition before the OIA playoffs.
Mililani will open its OIA season on Wednesday when it hosts Nanakuli. The Trojans played in two different tournaments in the preseason, going 12-3 over three days to finish second to No. 2 Kamehameha in the Hawaii Invitational, which also included No. 4 ‘Iolani. They took a few days off after that and went 5-3 in the loaded Ann Kang Invitational at ‘Iolani. Pearl City was the only other OIA West team to play in either tournament, and the Chargers went 2-13 in the Kamehameha tournament.
The Trojans have already taken a small step forward for their conference, reaching the OIA title match in each of the past two years. They fell to Kahuku both times, but just getting there was a victory for the weak West. Before Mililani stepped up, the OIA championship featured two teams from the East every year since Pearl City won it in 1997.
The Trojans are the favorite to earn the top seed out of the West this year, but that is no huge advantage. Only two top seeds, Kahuku last year and in 2008, have gone on to win the OIA tournament since 2006.
The OIA volleyball season starts for real on Tuesday with the East and on Wednesday with the West. Varsity games begin around 7 p.m. after Blue and JV games are completed.
Tuesday, Aug. 27
Castle at Kaimuki
Kalani at Kalaheo
Anuenue at Moanalua
Kahuku at McKinley
Roosevelt at Farrington
Kaiser at Kailua
Wednesday, Aug. 28
Aiea at Campbell
Waianae at Kapolei
Radford at Pearl City
Nanakuli at Mililani
Waialua at Waipahu
The ILH begins playing for keeps this week as well, with No. 1 Punahou visiting Sacred Hearts at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. No. 2 Kamehameha opens at Maryknoll at 10 a.m. the same day, while No. 4 ‘Iolani pays a visit to No. 8 Mid-Pacific.
The Buffanblu are going after their fifth straight ILH title after Kamehameha took the previous four. Winning the ILH means a little bit more than taking the OIA, as the ILH champion has moved on to win the state crown in 15 of the past 20 years. The OIA champ hasn’t won a state crown since 2002, when Kahuku beat St. Joseph’s.
The ILH Division II race begins Tuesday with ‘Iolani II visiting Hawaii Baptist, Hanalani visiting Le Jardin, University at Sacred Hearts and La Pietra at St. Francis. All matches are at 6 p.m.