BIIF volleyball: Hilo overpowers HPA in sweep

Despite the sparkling records they brought to steamy Hilo Armory, Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Hilo were very much still trying to find themselves.


Despite the sparkling records they brought to steamy Hilo Armory, Hawaii Preparatory Academy and Hilo were very much still trying to find themselves.

The Vikings were searching for another arm at outside hitter, coach Drew Fernandez called Kyra Kaloi’s number, and the junior had a role model in mind.

Kaloi came through with the kind of performance that would make a good friend smile Saturday afternoon, combining with Keola Katayama to give Hilo ample firepower during its 25-23, 25-15, 25-19 victory.

Kaloi (10 kills) was shy afterward until she pointed to the 12 on her jersey, the number former teammate Evalani Toledo wore last year when she earned All-Big Island Interscholastic Federation volleyball honors.

“I’m trying to be like her and I’m trying to be a leader like she is,” Kaloi said. “She’s my inspiration, so I want to be as good as her and be a leader.”

Rebounding from a loss against Kamehameha, the Vikings (7-1) earned their first victory against a team that currently holds a winning record. Ka Makani (6-1) were playing an opponent with a winning mark for the first time this season.

“We had some really great flow, and at other times we just really stopped,” coach Sharon Peterson said. “Hilo was fun to play against because we had to play up.”

Riding senior outside hitter Gabbie Ewing (11 kills) and junior middle blocker Alaina Bradley (six blocks), HPA played its best volleyball in the first set, jumping out to a 20-9 lead.

Katayama (11 kills) never saw cause for concern. In fact, it never entered her mind.

“You thought we were going to lose?” Katayama asked. “We were there for one another.”

The junior delivered four kills as Hilo finished the set on an 8-1 run.

“Keola’s been turning things around for us,” Fernandez said. “She has arm swing, but at times she’s under the ball. Today she was totally on.”

Fernandez likes to sub for Katayama in the back row, and by switching Kaloi from middle blocker when Katayama was on the bench, the outside was still covered.

Playing the position for the first time in high school, Kaloi made her biggest marks of the match in the second and third sets. That was in part because Fernandez saw a seamless flow between liberos Carol Ross (three aces) and Nalani Thomas, setters Taylor Alicuben (five kills) and Raevyn Kaupu and his hitters.

“We put (Kyra) in at practice and she showed us some good things and I think she did the job today,” Fernandez said. “The switch helped make the difference, and our liberos have our defense and passing covered.”

The Vikings trailed 11-6 in Game 3 when Katayama was summoned from the bench and proceeded to put down five kills as Hilo reclaimed the lead.


Ewing could only carry Ka Makani so far.

“We’re pretty inexperienced except for Gabbie,” Peterson said. “Some of them have never played varsity before, so there’s a lot to learn. The team has played beyond my expectations.”

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