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
|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|