Kapaa High School’s boys volleyball team, especially its seniors, was driven to make this year memorable.
The team did just that when it won the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship and then finished fifth at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II tournament earlier this month.
Now the Warriors (11-1 KIF season) have a few more reasons to enjoy this past season even more. Five players from Kapaa were voted all-stars by the KIF coaches.
“That was kind of a surprise, but it’s very deserving of the kids for their hard work this year,” said Kapaa boys volleyball head coach Kapule Kaona. “It’s a blessing to have the other coaches see what I saw in my players and that they saw their talents … It’s a community win. It’s a win for Kapaa.”
Among Kapaa’s five all-stars, senior Nicholas Hantz was voted KIF Player of the Year.
“It’s just crazy. I can’t believe that happened,” Hantz said. “There are so many good players in this league. For the coaches to vote for me, I didn’t expect that.”
Hantz added upon arriving from the state tournament, he thought about how far he and his teammates have come since he tried out during his sophomore year.
“From being a sophomore knowing nothing to being a senior getting (voted as an) all-star, the coaches get all the props … Without them, we wouldn’t know anything,” the Warriors senior said. “We just love playing together. We couldn’t wait to get in the gym and play volleyball.”
Kaona said Hantz was deserving of such honors because of his explosiveness on the court.
“He was one of those players that we could put anywhere in the front row and he could adjust,” he said about Hantz. “To attack from the middle and outside is not an easy feat … he did very well hitting from those two positions.
“That just showed his versatility and his talent. His explosiveness and fire power earned him that (award).”
In addition, Kaona was voted by his fellow coaches and was named KIF Coach of the Year.
“To receive this from my peers is an honor and I humbly accept,” he said. “These guys have more experience that I do from playing and coaching.”
Hantz said he hopes to continue with volleyball, but has other plans for his immediate future.
“For now, after I graduate, I’m going to work and save up for a mission with my church,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to play volleyball, I’d take it. I’d love to play volleyball elsewhere.”
2013-2014 KIF Boys Volleyball All-Star Team
Outside hitter: Rudy Agoot, junior, Kapaa
Outside hitter: Kristoffer Astrero, senior, Kapaa
Outside hitter: Kalawaia Judd, junior, Kauai
Middle blocker: Nicholas Hantz, senior, Kapaa
Middle blocker: Tyler Fernandez, junior, Kauai
Setter: Kanai Thronas-Kahoonei, senior, Kapaa
Libero: Jonathan Paleka, senior, Kapaa
Player of the Year
Nicholas Hantz, Kapaa
Coach of the Year
Kapule Kaona, Kapaa