Player of the Year: Lexis Akeo, Kamehameha, S, Jr.
After falling short in last year's Division I state title match, Kamehameha's Lexis Akeo knew that she had to take her game to the next level.
The junior setter's desire to improve ultimately paid off as the Warriors reclaimed the crown and took home their 21st state championship last October with a straight set sweep over Iolani in the final match of the year. For her efforts, Akeo became the second player to be selected as the ScoringLive All-Hawaii Girls Volleyball Player of the Year.
Akeo, who was Kamehameha's starting setter since she was a freshman, is no stranger to the technical aspects of the game. Since she grew up watching older sisters Lesli ('09) and Kamalani ('15) play for the Warriors, it was only natural that Akeo learned basic ball-handling skills at an early age.
While ball placement for her hitters has never been an issue for Akeo, Kamehameha coach Chris Blake said that Akeo's maturity and confidence was key to the Warriors' success in 2017.
"She definitely was much more focused and drive," Blake said on Akeo. "It came down to the little things. For her and her maturity, it came down to being a lot more confident in what she did. She was able to communicate what needed to get done, and she was able to deliver."
Not only was Akeo able to deliver a nice ball for her hitters to spike, but she was able to get the ball to the attacker with the best matchup on any given point.
"We challenged her not only physically, but mentally for her to peek and see what's on the other side (of the net)," said Blake. "As we began to give her options, she was making a lot of great decision on her own, which is a testament to her growth and maturity."
The numbers reflect this.
In 15 official matches, Akeo was able to rack up 546 assists while having three hitters reach 100 or more combined kills in those contests. Among her top hitters include All-Hawaii First Team selections OH Kili Robins (171 kills) and First Team MB Braelyn Akana (153 kills). Second Team OPP Keonilei Akana was also key with 145 kills.
"Lexis moved the ball around well and kept their offense balanced," Iolani coach Kainoa Obrey said of Akeo. "She establishes the middle early, and when you start to key in on the middles, she moves the ball to her pin hitters. (It) helps that she can locate the set for her hitters to take good full swings."
An underrated aspect of Akeo's game was that she was a complete player for the Warriors. As a 5-1 setter, the Kamehameha junior kept opposing defenses on their toes with multiple dump attempts and could control the first touch successfully when she needed to. Her final stat line at the end of the year included 36 kills, 123 digs, 15 total blocks and 11 aces.
"Her IQ puts added stress on the defense, especially mixing in her attacks," said Obrey. "Beyond her setting, she digs really well to give an opportunity for someone to step in and put up a good-out-of-system set. Kamehameha is definitely a high-level team with Akeo setting."
Coach of the Year: Naidah Gamurot, Kapolei
Kapolei coach Naidah Gamurot was selected as the ScoringLive All-Hawaii Coach of the Year after guiding the Hurricanes to a undefeated regular season in the Oahu Interscholastic Association Western Division, an appearance in the OIA D1 title game and a fourth place finish in the D1 state tournament.
Gamurot and her assistant coaches was always willing to make adjustments based on their opponent that night, changing the Hurricanes' lineup in over half of their matches.
"She is super knowledgeable and I think she always finds a way to maximize the production of her players," Blake said on Gamurot. "Her and her staff are definitely guiding the players to be able to do the right things in order to get success and maximize their potential."
THIRD TEAMOH: Savana Greene, Punahou - Sr | 6'2
Outside hitter: Christina Bentham (Aiea), Alea Cervantes (KS-Maui), Chandler Cowell (King Kekaulike), Falanika Danielson (Mililani), Tayli Ikenaga (Moanalua), Kayla Kahauolopua (Waiakea), Kallie Langford (Hawaii Baptist), Talia Leauanae (KS-Maui), Nina Macphetridge (King Kekaulike), Leslie Mamai-Lagafuaiana (Aiea), Cherilyn Molina (Konawaena), Janae Odom (Nanakuli), Erica Pilotin (Seabury Hall), Shaniece Steer (Radford), Keani Tolenoa (Kapaa), Kawai Ua (Hilo)
Opposite: Lindsey Adolpho (Castle), Lyric Love (King Kekaulike), Maluhia Maa (Kamehameha), Amryi Paris (Kapolei), Shayna Punua (Lanakila Baptist)
Middle blocker: Isabelle Bauer (Punahou), Melina Devela (Waiakea), Kimani Fernandez-Roy (KS-Maui), Jasmine Fonoti (Waianae), Maile Grace (Konawaena), Hailey Iha (Kauai), Mikayla Kekoa (Kohala), Kamilla Marinas (Waianae), Gabby Naniseni (Mililani), Kalina Obrey (Kamehameha), Sasha Petticord (Iolani), Mata Sagapolutele (Saint Francis), Raelee Samio (Waimea), Kohala Solomon (Farrington), Anastasia Tuifua (Kealakehe)
Setter: Summer Ah Choy (KS-Hawaii), Aliah Ayau (KS-Maui), Kiana Hyman (Seabury Hall), Kailee Kurokawa (Hilo), Kelsie Nakashima (Kalani), Emma Porter (Mid-Pacific), Anaselita Taetuna (Konawaena), Nive Tuileta (Le Jardin), Leiko Yamauchi (Waimea)
Libero/Defensive specialist: Lauren Asato (Punahou), Trinity Atuatasi (Aiea), Naiya Fujikawa (Hawaii Baptist), Jordan Hayashi (Waiakea), Nanna Inouye (King Kekaulike), Asia Jhun (Kalani), Kailee Lyons (Le Jardin), Kealani Ontai (Kamehameha), Julia Perry (Hawaii Prep), Tia Takasaki (Kapaa), Chevelle Wagner-Chun (Waianae)
Utility: Jessica Akiona (La Pietra), Vanessa Colling (Roosevelt), Sara Ehnstrom (Moanalua), Nohokula Lind (Hana), Tate Lutu (Sacred Hearts), Aysia Miller (Mililani), Violet Williams (Farrington)
Other coaches that received consideration: Chris Blake (Kamehameha), Lee Lamb (Le Jardin)
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