The list of standouts from the boys volleyball state tournament was announced late Friday night, and one of Kauai’s own made the cut.
Kapaa High School junior middle Saxsen Shiira was named to the New City Nissan Boys Volleyball Championships All-Tournament Team for Division II, as selected by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the media.
“It was one of the team parents that told us that I was on the all-state team,” Shiira said Saturday. “I was pretty shocked. There’s a lot of talent on the team. I wasn’t really expecting, out of all of us, to be me. There was so much talent at the Division II tournament. It was kind of a shocker to me.”
Shiira competed in all three of the team’s games at the state competition on Oahu.
In the team’s match in the opening round against Farrington of the Oahu Interscholastic Association, Shiira had nine kills and two blocks. Kapaa won that first match, 3-1.
In the following round versus eventual Division II champion Hawaii Baptist Academy of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, Shiira had two kills. Kapaa lost, 3-0.
In the third-place match against ILH’s Damien Memorial at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Shiira totaled four kills and a block. Kapaa won to place third in the competition, 2-0.
Shiira said being named to the all-tournament team was especially surprising because he felt he didn’t quite perform as well as he could have.
“Honestly, in my opinion, I didn’t think I played to my full potential,” Shiira said. “That’s why it was a shocker to me, too, because I think I didn’t play my best.”
Kapaa varsity boys volleyball head coach Kapule Kaona said he believes Shiira made the list because he was one of the more “athletic and exciting” middles at the Division II tournament.
“Saxsen had a great tournament. Looking back at it, I think it started in the first game against Farrington,” Kaona said. “He had a very big game. We were able to get the middles involved a lot. The thing was, Farrington had a very athletic middle — just like Saxsen. We knew going into that game that it was going to be a good matchup between those two guys.”
“I think what stood out most — the reason why Saxsen got the nod — was because I would say out of the Division II teams, he was one of the most athletic, exciting middles. I think that’s just due to his pure athleticism and his work ethic,” Kaona added. “He continuously worked throughout the entire tournament. … It’s a lot of work to play as a middle, but he put in that work. And that just paid off for him.”
Kaona said it was a pleasant surprise that one of his players was chosen as among the tournament’s best.
“It was very unexpected. I wasn’t even expecting any of our boys would be on the team. That’s not saying that I didn’t think they were good enough. I just really never even thought, honestly, about the all-tournament team and the selections,” the Warriors coach said. “It was one of the parents that made us aware that Saxsen made it. So, we went and looked on it, and we saw it. We were pretty stoked and excited about it.
“We shared the news with him, and he was like, ‘What? Really?’” Kaona continued. “He was very, very ecstatic about it.”
Hawaii Baptist senior outside hitter Caleb Fisher was named the Division II Most Outstanding Player.
Fisher had 21 kills and two aces against the Warriors in the semifinals. Kaona said in that match against HBA, Fisher was an imposing player for the Eagles.
“He’s just skilled. He stands at about 6-foot-4. He’s built like a man,” Kaona said. “Just his size and his stature, he has presence. And with that presence comes the skills and the athleticism. It’s like having that entire package.
“Against us, I didn’t think he was demonstrative against us. He definitely had his kills and his moments, but we didn’t get frazzled or shocked by it,” Kaona said about Fisher. “We knew he was that good and that he was going to get his moments.”
New City Nissan HHSAA Boys Volleyball Championships All-Tournament Team
Frederick Isaac Liva, Mililani, senior, outside hitter
Austin Matautia, Moanalua, senior, outside hitter
Zachary Miyamoto, Moanalua, junior, setter
Akahi Troske, Punahou, senior, middle
Ryan Wilcox, Punahou, sophomore, outside hitter
Kelsey Yogi, Punahou, senior, libero
Most Outstanding Player: Wil Stanley, Punahou, senior, outside hitter
Shaun Apiki, Damien, junior, middle blocker
Kaimana Kahele, Molokai, senior, middle blocker
Brett Miller, Hawaii Baptist, senior, opposite
Dru Pang, Hawaii Baptist, sophomore, libero
Davin Rausch, Hawaii Baptist, sophomore, setter
Saxsen Shiira, Kapaa, junior, middle
Michael Sterner, Molokai, junior, outside hitter
Most Outstanding Player: Caleb Fisher, Hawaii Baptist, senior, outside hitter