WAIMEA – The action just doesnt stop.
Excited shouts of “ROOF!” and the grunts of hard spikes and diving bodies will punctuate the 2002 volleyball preseason as fourteen high school boys teams clash for court supremacy as the 16th Annual Waimea Invitational Volleyball Tournament kicks off next Thursday at the Clem Gomes Gymnasium.
Teams scheduled to participate in the three-day (August 15-17) tournament are Iolani (varsity and junior varsity), Maryknoll, Lutheran and Hawaii Baptist Academy of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu; Keaau (split squad) and Hawaii Preparatory Academy of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation; and Kauai Interscholastic Federation representatives Kapaa (split squad), Kauai High and Waimea (split squad and junior varsity teams).
Squads have been divided into two 7-school pools with Hawaii Prep, Iolani JV, Kapaa White, Lutheran, Waimea Blue, Hawaii Baptist, and the Cougars assigned to Pool Blue (Court 1). Pool White consists of Kapaa Green, Iolani, Waimea White, Kauai High, Keaau, Maryknoll, and Waimea JV (Court 2).
Pool play will commence Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and run through Friday morning, with the second days action slated to begin promptly at 9 a.m. The top four teams from each pool will advance to the championship bracket while the bottom 3 finishers from each advance to consolation bracket play. Championship and consolation bracket play is tentatively slated to commence on Friday afternoon and finish Saturday. The final days bracket play is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m.
Waimea Head Coach Bobby Kamakele, who has justly earned a reputation statewide for running a first-class tournament, stated that there will be something new this year to help disadvantaged students at the Waimea Canyonlands School. “Admission to the three-day tournament is free but there will be a drop-off box placed at the front of the gym to collect donations of new school supplies,” Coach Kamakele expounded, “and we hope that fans of great volleyball and of our deserving kids will enthusiastically assist with contributions for those in need.”
The defending tournament champion Iolani Raiders under Head Coach Luis Ramirez return with high expectations as they finished last season as the state boys runner-up, losing to Kamehameha in a tight title game. Leading the Raider effort will be 6 1″ junior setter Sean Carney, who was selected to the 2001 All State Second Team, and Derrick Low, last seasons Basketball MVP. The Raiders defeated Waimea in straight sets to claim last years Waimea Invitational.
Maryknoll, which has been picked by most pundits to battle evenly with Kamehameha, Iolani and Punahou for one of the two ILH state berths, is led by undersized outside hitter Ian Woodward.
Former Lutheran Head Coach Teoni Obrey looks to make a difference as the new mentor of the Hawaii Baptist Eagles.
Last years Menehune squad exceeded expectations with a strong performance in the state play-offs by beating a previously undefeated Maui squad in pool play before losing a tough three-set battle to the eventual third place finisher Kealakehe Waveriders in the quarterfinals. Despite losing key players to graduation, the Menehunes sport an even taller squad this year and are expected to contend with strong team play and the blocking and hitting of high-leaping 5 11″ senior Desmond Rodrigues.
Kapaa, which went undefeated in pool play last year, enters the tournament with high hopes and a new head coach in Ray Dela Pena who moves up from the junior varsity.
The Red Raiders, fresh off the isolation and team bonding of a week-long volleyball camp, look to improve on last years fourth place tournament finish under new Kauai High Head Coach Shawn Doo.
Waimea and Kauai High will also travel to Oahu on August 23rd to participate in the Kamehameha Boys Preseason Volleyball Tournament, and the Red Raiders and Kapaa are entered in the Waiakea Boys Invitational on the Big Island in early September.
The KIF volleyball regular season begins service on Wednesday, September 25th as the Menehunes host Kauai High at the Clem Gomes Gym.