Some of the nation’s top girls volleyball programs will be in town for the 29th annual Ann Kang Volleyball Invitational at ‘Iolani this week.
The headliner is 2016 Southern California regional champion Santa Margarita, which will be looking for a better showing in the preseason tournament this year. The Lady Eagles won the tournament two years ago, beating Punahou in the final. Last year, Santa Margarita swept throuogh local squads Moanalua, Le Jardin and Punahou on its way to the final, where it fell to Mira Costa.
Mira Costa is not in the field this year, so Santa Margarita serves as the closest thing to defending champions. The Lady Eagles lost Meghan McClure and Juliana Reisinger to graduation but return setter Devon Chang, who has committed to Cal, Haley Carmo and Sarah Ciszek. McClure went to Stanford and Resinger moved on to Purdue.
Other mainland schools in the tournament include Long Beach Poly, Boswell in pool A and Mater Dei, Oak Ridge, San Juan Hills and Palos Verdes in pool B.
Although the tournament is a series of preseason exhibitions, it will provide Hawaii’s first look at Elena Oglivie, Saige Kaahaaina-Torres and defending state champion ‘Iolani. The Raiders have never won the tournament and will begin in pool B with fellow Hawaii schools Le Jardin, Mililani and Hilo. All four local schools received votes in last year’s final Star-Advertiser poll, with Le Jardin coming in at No. 6 and Mililani clinging to the No. 10 spot.
Punahou, which won the tournament four times including three in a row from 2012-14, is expected to contend in pool A but won’t meet Santa Margarita in the first two rounds. That clash is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. before going into bracket play with the championship scheduled for 4 p.m.
The tournament begins Thursday at 8 a.m. with Santa Margarita vs. Mid-Pacific and Long Beach Poly vs. Chandler Cowell‘s King Kekaulike squad.