'Iolani hosting volleyball tourney
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Fresh off a weekend of elite boys volleyball competition at the Best of the West Invitational in Poway, Calif., 'Iolani will host its own top-flight tournament starting tomorrow.
The Third Annual Hawai'i Boys Volleyball Invitational will feature 16 teams — including four Mainland programs — in four separate pools starting at 11 a.m. tomorrow at 'Iolani. The local representation includes four teams ranked in ESPN Rise's Fab 50: No. 10 Kamehameha, No. 18 Hawai'i Baptist, No. 21 'Iolani and No. 37 Roosevelt.
"It gives the local teams a chance to see the Mainland style of play," said 'Iolani coach Mike Among, who is the tournament's founder and director. "They have a little bigger guys all-around. We're pretty happy with the four (Mainland teams) we got, and now that I've seen the Best of the West in person, I made some connections and hopefully we can get more of the top programs on the invite list."
The four Mainland teams here this week are Poway (Calif.), Santa Monica (Calif.), Crespi (Encino, Calif.) and Salesian (Richmond, Calif.).
Among said he wanted a big tournament with Mainland teams included since the Hawai'i boys volleyball season was switched from the fall to the spring — aligning with most Mainland seasons — in 2008. Punahou won the prestigious Best of the West Invitational two weekends ago, beating several high-ranked teams along the way, and 'Iolani finished sixth in the Silver Bracket, 22nd overall in the 32-team field.
"My whole thing when we switched over was I thought of the 'Iolani Classic (boys basketball tournament) and how it has helped raise the level of local basketball," said Among, a former Advertiser basketball State Player of the Year at Maryknoll. "I'm hoping this tournament builds local programs up the way the Ann Kang (Volleyball Invitational) builds up the girls programs."
The other eight teams participating are Damien, Hana, Kamehameha-Maui, Kamehameha-Hawai'i, Maryknoll, Mid-Pacific, Moanalua and Seabury Hall.
After pool play all day tomorrow and Friday morning, the teams will be divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze brackets Friday afternoon and championship matches are scheduled for Saturday, followed by a tournament luau.
Matches will be played in 'Iolani's lower and upper gyms. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students, with discounted three-day passes also available.
PUNAHOU MENTIONED ON MAXPREPS.COM
Punahou's volleyball victory at the Best of the West Invitational — which boosted the Buffanblu to No. 1 by ESPN Rise — received mention in Dave Krider's column on CBS Sports' www.Maxpreps.com Web site.
Krider, a former high school sports reporter for USA Today, highlighted Taylor Crabb's nine kills, 11 aces, 13 digs and five blocks during four matches on the final day of the Best of the West.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com