Petticord’s defense is D-I level for ‘Iolani

Sasha Petticord was in on six blocks for 'Iolani in a sweep of Kapolei in the first round of the Division I girls volleyball state tournament on the Raiders' home court Monday night. Jay Metzger / Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Sasha Petticord is a skillful volleyball player who will likely be playing at a Division I college next year. Firing away for kills and diving for digs is only part of the equation for her, though.

She is the girl up front and in the middle for the second-ranked ‘Iolani Raiders and she is defensive-minded. Sure, the blocks and kills come for points, but that’s not her forte.

At 6-foot-2, Petticord is in the way of opposing hitters. She was in on six blocks Monday night in the first round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships, helping ‘Iolani sweep Kapolei 25-16, 25-19, 25-15.

“I’ve been talking with three colleges, but have not committed yet,” Petticord said. “I’m not sure where I want to go.”

She also did not want to say the names of the colleges.

Despite the relatively easy win, Petticord talked about some of the problems Kapolei posed.

“They pass it close to the net so I wasn’t always sure if they were going to set the middle or the outside. They made me not as fast to the block.”

Raiders coach Kainoa Obrey gave Petticord props after the win.

“Sasha’s been playing really well or us,” he said. “Obviously the length helps. As the first defender at the net, she’s been huge. She makes hitters choose to do different shots. She covers a lot of ground and gets a lot of good, solid blocks for us. We dig a lot more balls around her when she’s up there blocking. She changes the hitters’ mind-set and that can play a little more favorable for us. She’s had some pretty good success against (defending state champion) Kamehameha’s and Punahou’s middles.”

For the last three years in a row, it’s been ‘Iolani vs. Kamehameha in the the D-I state championship game, with the Warriors winning in 2015 and 2017 and the Raiders prevailing in 2016.

The same two teams might find their way to the finale again. This season, Kamehameha has beaten ‘Iolani in four of five ILH regular-season matches.

What has been the difference in the two teams so far?

Without conceding anything to Kamehameha in the future, Petticord had an answer for the past.

“They are a crazy-good digging team,” she said. “We hit it as hard as we can and they just pop it up and that kind of discourages us and then they are able to close the rally and it gives them momentum. Sometimes we struggle to start or finish a set.”

The state final — whether Kamehameha is in it or not — is still down the road a bit. To get there, the Raiders still have to beat their next two opponents — MIL champion and third-seeded King Kekaulike on Thursday, and, if they win that, either Mililani or Kamehameha-Hawaii on Friday.

King Kekaulike is ranked No. 3 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.

“King Kekaulike is big and they have a lot of good hitters and I think it’s going to be an interesting game,” Petticord said.

Obrey recalls seeing Na Alii at ‘Iolani’s preseason tournament.

“They have good size and they have good athletes and they’re coached very well,” he said. “We expect them to be pretty good. I’m hoping our league and our season prepared us for these moments.”

Kapolei coach Naidah Gamurot likes ‘Iolani’s discipline and consistency.

“That consistency is what can take you all the way,” she said.

Gamurot also paid the Raiders a major compliment:

“At ‘Iolani’s tournament, I made them sit and watch ‘Iolani. I wanted our young kids to watch their discipline, intensity and teamwork. Every time ‘Iolani was playing and we weren’t, they were right there behind ‘Iolani’s bench, learning what it’s supposed to look like.”

Gamurot was happy with the Hurricanes’ success this year, making it as far as the OIA semifinals and qualifying for states.

“I thought we did really well,” she said. “Fear was not in their vocabulary. They had the attitude of ‘I want to play, I want to learn, I have to learn’ and so that’s what they focused on. They didn’t choke.”

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. Mahatma Gandhi October 23, 2018 7:20 am

    Does anyone here really believe any non-ILH team has a chance to beat either Kamehameha or Iolani? get real. This will be Kamehameha’s 16th straight time to the final game for the Hawaii state wahine volleyball championship. Obviously big time recruiting going on by the ILH schools. Iolani has conceded big time football to St Louis and they are focusing on basketball and volleyball state
    championships. Both sexes. Any time there is a huge gap in a sport between the ILH and OIA schools, you know there is big time recruiting going on

  2. Jim Diamond October 23, 2018 3:24 pm

    I don’t agree. The ILH has 2 teams in the D1 State tournament this week
    the OIA has 6 teams.
    My niece was on an Iolani volleyball team. They don’t recruit for girls’ volleyball.
    If they did, their girls would be bigger and their bench would be deeper.
    They work with the girls they have so in that sense they do an awesome job.
    By the way, I’m glad to see Petticord recognized. She’s one of the best middles the state’s had these past few years, along with Akana.
    What she needs is a setter who can set her well consistently. She can block for sure. But she can also blast those balls. Unfortunately the sets are pretty ragged.
    Good luck to all the girls this week.

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