LIHUE – The Garden Island Newspaper is proud to announce its selections for the 2002 Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation prep boys varsity volleyball all-star squad.
– First Team –
The 10-member first team, whose composition includes five members of the league-champion Menehune, is led by Most Valuable Player selection (Waimea tri-captain) Desmond Rodrigues.
A personable, high-leaping middle hitter, Rodrigues’ strong play in all three front net positions as well as the back row was the catalyst for back-to-back titles for the west-side school. The 5-11 senior averaged 6.7 kills and 6 digs per match, and totaled 6 solo blocks and assisted on 12 others. His 48 total digs led the league defensively and his 52 kills placed him fourth among the KIF’s best. He placed among the top five league leaders in 4 of 6 statistical offensive and defensive categories (kills, solo blocks, block assists, and digs) this season. Whether it was just another day at practice or the second round play-off match, Rodrigues energetically put out 110% every time he stepped onto the court.
Joshua Vinzant (Waimea) – At the completion of the eight-game KIF regular season, this athletic Menehune tri-captain tied with Kapa’a’s Ricky Rodrick for the league lead in kills (65). Vinzant, a 5-11 senior outside hitter, also served a team-high 6 aces, assisted on 9 blocks, and picked up 28 dig saves on the season.
Kamu Kawaihalau (Kaua’i) – When the Raiders needed a vital point or crucial side-out, this lanky 6-2 junior outside hitter was Kaua’i’s go-to guy on offense with a team-high 59 kills (3rd in the league). Kawaihalau dropped in 5 service aces; defensively collected 1 solo block, 6 block assists, and passed 23 digs.
Jeremy McDown (Waimea) -The Menehune dominated the league up front defensively thanks to the improved play of this 6-5 junior middle hitter. McDown stuffed a league-high 9 solo blocks, assisted on an additional 14 rejections and was ninth in the KIF with 32 kills in 7 regular season games.
Ricky Rodrick (Kapa’a) – The senior right-hander was one of the most dynamic hitters in the league with a KIF lead-tying 65 kills (see Joshua Vinzant). Rodrick, a strong-wristed 6-foot opposite hitter, played all front row positions superbly, jumped served 4 aces and dug up 35 saves.
Casey Kaohelaulii (Waimea) – The hard serving 6-3 opposite hitter served notice in the 16th Annual Waimea Preseason Invitational Tournament that he would be among the league elite this year and continued that high quality of play through the regular season. In seven games, the junior standout compiled 38 kills (7th in the KIF), 1 service ace, 6 solo blocks, 13 block assists, and 6 digs.
Erwin Wright III (Waimea) – A 5-10 junior setter who ranked third among league leaders in assists with 146. His unselfish distribution, steady composure and great hands were instrumental in Waimea’s league-leading 241 team kills. Wright’s numbers would have been significantly higher if not for the alternate play of teammate Talon Abat in the setting position. He amassed 2 aces, 5 kills, 3 block assists, and 26 digs during the regular season.
Aukai Dennis (Kaua’i) – Fiery 5-10 senior setter led the KIF with 155 assists in 7 games this year and his aggressive play at the net helped force a second round playoff match with the Menehune. Dennis additionally racked up 7 service aces, 15 kills, 11 block assists, and 27 digs.
Warren Lee (Kaua’i) – Lightning quick 5-8 senior defensive specialist was second in the league with his team-high 42 digs. Lee repeatedly sacrificed his body with great anticipation to keep balls in play and was a heavy influence on his squads success.
Eric Fujikawa (Kaua’i) – A composed, positive leader who excelled anywhere on the court – the 6 senior defensive specialist/middle hitter put away 28 kills (with only 7 hitting errors), 7 solo blocks, a league-leading 15 block assists, and 39 digs.
Coach of the Year – Bobby Kamakele (Waimea). In his 14th year at the helm of the Menehune, Kamakele guided his charges to an 8-1 overall record and a return trip to the 2002 HHSAA Nissan Boys Volleyball State Championships. He enjoys a statewide reputation as one of the better strategists amongst his peers who can make the necessary subtle adjustments critical to a victory.