WAIMEA — Waimea High School senior Gabby Peleras for the second year in a row was named Kauai Interscholastic Federation girls volleyball Player of the Year.
“I was really surprised,” Peleras said Friday. “Again, there’s competition and everyone getting better each year.”
The list for the KIF girls volleyball all-stars was released by the league late Thursday. The players were voted for by the league’s coaches.
Waimea varsity girls volleyball head coach Chad Delanoza said Peleras “brings life to our team.”
“She grew a lot over the period and over time. She’s a natural-born leader,” Delanoza said. “She had to deal with some little injuries this year, which I thought held her back a little bit at times. But the end product basically is what every team and every coach looks for.”
After winning the award last season, Peleras didn’t believe she would win it again.
“I did not. With the competition and the girls getting better, I felt like there was going to be a much more difficult time getting that again,” she said. “It’s not an easy thing to accomplish. There’s pretty much putting in blood, sweat and tears — conditioning yourself into playing hard and keeping it that way, and supporting your team and being there for them, and doing what you can to be a part of the team.”
Peleras was recognized as one of the league’s top outside hitters. Also recognized in the position are Waimea senior Keana Silva and Island School junior Ashley Mecham.
This year’s top middle blockers are Kauai High School senior Hailey Iha and Waimea sophomore Raelee Samio.
Waimea senior Leiko Yamauchi was named the all-star setter, and Kauai senior Jolea Kiilau-Pillos was named the all-star libero.
Waimea’s Chad Delanoza was named Coach of the Year.
Waimea (13-3, 11-1 KIF) repeated as KIF champions this year. At the 2018 New City Nissan Girls Volleyball State Championships-Division II state tournament in October, the Menehune girls were 2-2 en route to placing fourth.
“It was a season to remember,” Delanoza said. “Having lost a match along the way (in the regular season), no one’s ever perfect even though we strive to be. But day in and day out, they worked hard. They knew what they wanted. It was just a matter of if they have the mindset to really work for it. They did exactly what they said what they were going to do.”
Kauai High School was 8-4, Kapaa was 4-8 and Island School was 1-11 in the past regular season.
KIF Girls Volleyball All-Stars
Player of the Year: Gabby Peleras, Waimea, senior
Coach of the Year: Chad Delanoza, Waimea
Outside hitter: Keana Silva, Waimea, senior; Gabby Peleras, Waimea, senior; Ashley Mecham, Island School, junior
Middle blocker: Hailey Iha, Kauai, senior; Raelee Samio, Waimea, sophomore
Setter: Leiko Yamauchi, Waimea, senior
Libero: Jolea Kiilau-Pillos, Kauai, senior
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.