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Warriors, Raiders reach semis of Labor Day Classic tournament


The two teams that reached the 2022 Division I state championship match looked the part over the weekend.

Kamehameha-Hawaii and Iolani finished the highest out of 14 Hawaii teams that took part in the Warriors' annual Labor Day Classic tournament.

The two teams reached the semifinals of the gold bracket before the Warriors and Raiders fell to Campbell Hall (Studio City, Calif.) and Otay Ranch (Chula Vista, Calif.) respectively.

Otay Ranch ended up winning the tournament last Saturday, a team that KS-Hawaii swept on Thursday.

"I feel like this tournament really helps us gain a better experience against taller girls, especially because on the Big Island we don't have these six foot players that we can play against," said KS-Hawaii outside hitter Maela Honma. 

The tournament had 10 total team from out of state, with six from California, two from Oregon and one each from Nevada and Arizona.

"These teams that come down from the mainland, it helps to get that exposure and expereince," said Honma.

Honma looks to shoulder the load offensively for a young Warriors squad that lost a lot of starters to graduation.

Halimaileaulii "Maile" Kuamoo will be handling setting duties for KS-Hawaii this year.

Maile Kuamoo (1) celebrates after a point against Kalaheo in the first match of pool play last Friday. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

"She transitioned from being our server and (defensive specialist) for our team last year. She played only one or two rotations, but she's come a long way to being able to set," Honma said of Kuamoo. "She's my setter for club actually and she's stepping up in the role. I'm really proud of her."

Basketball standout Keanu Huihui is also looking to provide a spark for the Warriors.

"This is Keanu's first year playing volleyball and she's doing so good," said Honma. "She's tall and athletic and she's definitely helping the team a lot."

KS-Hawaii picked up pool play wins over University Lab, Ironwood Ridge (Oro Valley, Ariz.) Otay Ranch, Kalaheo, Waiakea and West Salem (Salem, Ore.) before beating Damien and Moanalua to reach the semifinals.

The Warriors will resume BIIF Division I play when they host Keaau on Wednesday.

Defending Division I state champion Iolani also earned a win over Otay Ranch in pool play on Friday.

The Raiders just have two starters returning, but they will be in different positions this year.

Middle blocker Callie Pieper moves over to the outside and opposite Eryn Hiraki will start at libero for Iolani in 2023.

"It is kind of a new squad in terms of their experience on the court," said Iolani coach Teoni Obrey. "We're growing, we're trying to figure ourselves out and trying to get better each day."

Of Pieper, Obrey said: "She's developed quite pretty well on the left. Passing is coming along and getting better and better every day. The arm is still good from the left."

Hiraki will fill the shoes of 2022 All-Hawaii First Team selection Tessa Onaga, who was last state tournament's most outstanding player.

Iolani senior libero Eryn Hiraki digs up a ball during pool play last Friday. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

"Eryn is just a good volleyball player," said Obrey. "We're able to move her around and get her in that libero position. She's learning it, it's new for her, but she's done a really good job of learning and working."

Iolani will also have a few seniors on the court that sat out last season due to the ILH transfer roles. Avery Perreira looks to be another outside hitter in the rotation while Ambri Hanohano will be the starting setter.

The Raiders also have a few young players in the mix in freshman Georgie Lee and setter Bailey Nakanelua.

Iolani earned pool play victories over Campbell Hall, Kapolei, Eleanor Roosevelt (Eastvale, Calif.), Rocklin (Calif.) Otay Ranch and Hawaii Baptist before defeating the Hurricanes and Eagles again to reach the semifinals.

The Raiders will begin ILH play at reigning Division II state champ Le Jardin Tuesday. League play in the ILH this year will feature a blended schedule across divisions.

HBA, Kalaheo and Moanalua all finished tied for fifth with Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.). Na Menehune won six total matches, the Mustangs won five matches and the Eagles won four matches.

Damien and Kapolei finished 9th and 10th respectively. The Monarchs went 7-3 throughout the three days while the Hurricanes were a competitive out and took a number of teams to three sets in pool play.

Hilo and University Lab ended the tournament in a four-way tie for 13th place. The Junior Bows are bolstered by the addition of Miliana Sylvester, a University of Hawaii-commit who transferred home after spending some time in Missouri.

Waiakea placed 17th, Seabury Hall came in 21st place, Nanakuli finished at 22nd place while Kaimuki and Konawaena tied for 23rd place.

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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