HILO, Hawaii: It was a thrilling conclusion to the 55th annual Haili volleyball Tournament on Saturday here at the packed Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
In the men’s AA Division championship, Hilo’s team of Hemolele defeated Oahu’s RZN on the court, 25-23 and 25-23 becoming the first hometown team to ever take the AA title at the prestigious Haili.
At the net, powerful Hemolele hitters like Keahi Warfield, Wendell “Sammy” Kaehuaea and Ikaika Marzo dominated the ball, spiking and blocking anything that came their way.
Strong play from Andrew Dunn – who was named the men’s AA division’s most outstanding player – as well as former Pahoa standout Isaiah Ekau and Shawn Pacquing. You will even notice KWXX GM and long time volleyballer Chirs Leonard out on the court for the winning team.
The team was an amalgamation of players from Big Island Roots and Oahu’s Quiksets.
RZN was no push over. Last year, the team finished behind champions Kailua VBC.
Big Island volleyball fans may recognize past and present Waiakea High School stars like Cory Enriques, Ryan Tsuji and Gordon Lacy.
At the same time, the women’s finals were held on the other side of the civic, where the undefeated S’Hawaiians defeated “HI Intensity of Oahu” 25-23, 25-15.
Former University of Hawaii star Kanani Danielson of the S’Hawaiians was named the division’s most outstanding player.
“Islandwide from America Samoa” defeated Oahu’s “Ka Ulukoa” for the men’s A division championship.
The women’s A division final was a battle between two Oahu teams, in which LAC Jammers defeated HI Life.