Hilo, Hawaii – The Pilipa'a Girls 18's capped a stellar two weeks of volleyball with a solid 2-0 (25-20, 25-19) sweep of Legacy to claim the Women's AA Championship of the 2019 Haili Tournament. According to the Hawaii Tribune Herald, it is the first time in the tournament's 62 year history that a Juniors team has won the Women's AA division. The Pilipa'a girls have played a grueling 21 matches in the last two weeks. They claimed the Moku O Keawe Regional Championship last week Saturday, followed by the Haili Tournament Girls' 18U Championship on Wednesday prior to competing the Women's AA division Thursday-Saturday.
Pilipa'a finished pool play in 2nd place to advance to the brackets. They defeated HI Intensity 2-0 in the quarterfinals and the current UH Hilo squad 2-1 in the semifinals to advance to the championship match versus Legacy which featured former Rainbow Wahine Ginger Long and Natasha Burns along with Pilipa'a assistant and former UH Hilo player Sienna Davis. It was a rematch of their pool play match on Thursday that Pilipa'a won 2-1. Pilipa'a saved their most inspired play for the last game of the tournament with all ten players on the active roster contributing. Five players notched kills led by Nani Spaar with twelve. Four players had service aces led by Nani Spaar with three. The offense put up solid numbers, but defense and passing were the keys to the winning the match. Pilipa'a's block didn't score a ton of points, however, they touched just about every Legacy attack. Pilipa'a recorded an impressive 35 digs in the two games led by Loke Kuamo'o with 9.
“I'm incredibly proud of our girls historic run through this year's Haili Tournament, they played against some outstanding current and former collegiate players this week and showed not only can they compete at that level, but they can excel and win,” said Pilipa'a Girls Head Coach and Club Director Chris Leonard. We have been challenging them with high level competition this year and in this tournament they really stepped up and showed what they are capable of. We have more work to do to continue to improve, but I'm excited for the future for these great student-athletes,” added Leonard.
Pilipa'a will return to the practice gym this week to prepare for the 2019 USA Volleyball Junior National Championship from April 26-28th in Dallas, Texas.