Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, December 16, 2001




Kanoe Kamana'o and Rickey Estrada
led their teams to state championships



Kanoe Kamana‘o used her
setting, hitting and leadership
skills to help Iolani

By Tim Crouse

For a player who has been involved in volleyball since she was 6 years old and has competed with the junior national team outside of the United States, Star-Bulletin state player of the year Kanoe Kamana'o experienced several firsts in the sport this year.

The Iolani junior -- who was named an All-American by Student Sports Inc. -- helped the Raiders to their first Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship and followed that up by guiding them to their first state championship.

It is the first time Kamana'o has won the honor -- but it may not be the last, as she'll have one more volleyball season next fall.

Kamana'o is the best setter in the state and was one of 14 honored nationally by Student Sports Inc. She has the skills to turn virtually any pass into a good set.

"She has the ability to make sets from anywhere on the court," St. Francis coach Sean Maskell said. "She's a quick athlete who can play every position on the court, setting, hitting or blocking."

Kamana'o she is also one of the fiercest hitters. When the Raiders were struggling in a match, they often looked to Kamana'o for offense, a fact that was not lost on opposing coaches.

"Every time they were in trouble (in a quarterfinal match in the state tournament), they went to Kanoe," St. Joseph coach Rachelle Hanohano said.

Said Kahuku coach Mona Ah Hoy: "They used her as a setter (in a preseason match). When we stayed with them, they put her as a hitter and she killed us."

Despite being Iolani's starting setter, Kamana'o finished second behind Laakea Campbell in team kills this season, with 108.

"If she focused (only) on hitting, she could still be all-state," said Maskell.

Kamana'o also inflicted damage from the service line. She led the team with 38 aces, and only missed 6 percent of her serves all season.

But her strongest contribution on the court may be her leadership.

"The team looks to her. She doesn't let down no matter what the situation," Waianae coach Rae Fabrao said. "When they're down on the court, she'll get the team going."

Said Hanohano: "She's a role model for other setters in the state."



Poli Olevao

Hilo, 5-8 senior middle blocker

Was a dominant force in the middle for the state semifinalists.

"Her drive and desire for the game made her successful," Waiakea coach Daniel Aina said. "She had good court awareness, good defense, could hit and block."

Elizabeth Narkon

St. Francis, 6-0 senior middle blocker

Became a complete all-around player, to go along with her powerful hitting and blocking up front. High honorable mention All-American by Student Sports Inc. Will attend Northern Arizona next fall.

La'akea Campbell

Iolani, 5-10 senior outside hitter

Led the state-champion Raiders in kills with 131 during the regular season and state tournament. "She was consistent this year," St. Francis coach Sean Maskell said. "She was putting balls away with authority."

Michelle Look

Punahou, 5-10 senior outside hitter

Led the Buffanblu in hitting, and was also the team's emotional leader. Headed to Loyola Marymount next fall. "A lot of it is her attitude. She's not afraid of tough situations," Punahou coach John McDermott said.

Tiana Lum-Tucker

Kauai, 5-6 senior outside hitter

Besides her strong hitting, also played great defense and was one of the best passers in the state. "She was really good all-around," Kalani coach Tehani Miyashiro said.

"She had a positive attitude. She was their go-to (player)."

Ann Kang

Iolani, coach

Has been with the program since its inception in 1979, and guided the team to its first ILH and state championships. "When your team goes undefeated all season long that says a lot," St. Joseph coach Rachelle Hanohano said.


Nanea Holmes La Pietra Setter 5-10 Sr.

Rachel Gleed Hawaii Prep Middle/Opposite 5-9 Sr.

Briana Marinas Waianae Outside Hitter 5-9 Sr.

Kanani Yockman Hilo Outside Hitter 5-9 Sr.

Jazmin Paakaula St. Joseph Outside Hitter 5-10 So.

Aneli Otineru Punahou Outside Hitter 5-9 Fr.


Tiare Toulon Kauai Setter 5-8 Sr.

Puna Richardson Punahou Middle Blocker 6-0 Jr.

Kuuipo Hayes St. Joseph Middle/Outside 5-11 Jr.

Patti Hardimon Moanalua Middle/Outside 5-8 Jr.

Michelle Peters Kahuku Outside Hitter 5-9 Jr.

Tamari Miyashiro Kalani Outside Hitter 5-7 Fr.

HONORABLE MENTION: Iolani: Ashley Elliazar, Blair Nonaka. Farrington: Janice Fonoti, Paepaeteie Poasa. Hilo: Kaleialoha Lau, Sarah Mason. Kahuku: Grace George. Kalaheo: Meghan Watson. Kalani: Marisa Okamoto. Leilehua: Heidi Garcia. Moanalua: Amanda Vazquez, Amy Kotani. Nanakuli: Lehua Yap. Pearl City: Chalice Kaapuni, Kelli Yuen, Jillan Soria. Seabury Hall: Lauren Powley, Lecca Roberts. St. Joseph: Courtney Lee, Lindsey Lee. Waianae: Kristen Kekahuna.


Kamehameha’s Rickey Estrada
quietly led his team
to an unbeaten season

By Tim Crouse

He didn't make the most noise on the court this year or register the most kills, but Rickey Estrada was the heart of the state champion Kamehameha Warriors.

Estrada, a senior outside hitter, is the Star-Bulletin state boys player of the year.

"He had the complete package, with team defense, blocking, serving and hitting," Kamehameha coach Pono Maa said. "The biggest intangible he brought was leadership.

Estrada was a member of last year's team that lost to Punahou in the state tournament finals. But when the teams met in late October, Estrada pounded 15 kills to help the Warriors clinch the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title.

"There were so many little things that Rickey was able to do that helped the team," Iolani coach Luiz Ramirez said.

Estrada didn't worry much about accolades, and was a main reason the team had such good chemistry.

"He was willing to focus on the defense, the leadership, a lot of the intangibles that we really needed to keep the team together," Maa said.

Estrada, who was a second-team all-state selection last year, capped his senior efforts by being named to the all-state tournament team.

Throughout the year, his defense and his passing were crucial to Kamehameha's success. He did have some hot hitting nights and some strong matches at the net, but left most of the big kill nights to teammate Isaac Kneubuhl.

"From start to finish I think his passing and his defense really helped the team move along," said Maa.

Said Iolani coach Luiz Ramirez: "Rickey's ball-handling is very polished. His ball-handling skills are far above the rest of the pack.

"He knows how to play, he's very experienced. He's one of the top hitters in the state," Ramirez said.

Estrada has not decided on a college yet, but will continue playing volleyball next month at the club level. Ramirez is rounding up some of the best players in the state for the Asics Rainbows.

Estrada probably won't be the one making the most noise on the team, but if his play this past season is any indication, he'll do whatever the team needs to be successful.



Dio Dante
Maui, 6-8 senior middle blocker

Dominated the middle in league play and during the state tournament. "If we got him the ball, there was no one in this league who could stop him," Sabers coach Albert Paschoal said.

Jordan Miyashiro

Kamehameha, 5-11 sophomore setter

Helped the Warriors achieve a balanced offense in his first year starting, spreading the ball all over the court.

"He was consistent the whole year," coach Pono Maa said.

Isaac Kneubuhl

Kamehameha, 6-3 junior outside hitter

Led the team in hitting and was also an excellent passer. "He was steady, a good passer," Kalaheo coach Sivan Leoni said. "He was an excellent all-around player."

Allison Dupont

Pearl City, 5-10 senior outside hitter

Displayed a 43-inch vertical, allowing him to sky over the block. "He was consistent in the back row, blocking, attacking, even passing," coach Reid Shigemasa said.

Brian Bollinger

Seabury Hall, 6-0 senior outside hitter

Was a powerful hitter who could reach 30 kills in a match.

"He went from JV reserve his freshman year to all-state his senior," coach Dan Molin said. "It was pure hard work and determination."

Pono Maa

Kamehameha, coach

Led the Warriors to their first title in eight years after coming so close the past several seasons.

"He worked his tail off," Seabury Hall coach Dan Molin said. "He made good adjustments during games."


Kupono Nuuhiwa Punahou Setter 5-6 Sr.

Ikaika Alama-Francis Kalaheo Middle Blocker 6-6 Sr.

Kana Bento Kealakehe Middle/Outside 6-5 Sr.

Ikaika Marzo Waiakea Outside Hitter 6-4 Sr.

Matthew Bninski Hawaii Baptist Outside Hitter 6-0 Sr.

Jonathan Grobe Iolani Outside Hitter 6-4 Sr.


Sean Carney Iolani Setter/Opposite 6-1 So.

David Hoke Kamehameha Middle Blocker 6-3 Sr.

Tyler McCready Iolani Middle Blocker 6-5 Sr.

Justin Pedrina Kalaheo Outside Hitter 5-10 Sr.

Corey Spence Seabury Hall Outside Hitter 6-0 So.

Max DeWolf St. Louis Opposite Hitter 6-5 Jr.

HONORABLE MENTION: Farrington: Henry Valiente, Raymond Melei. Kalaheo: Jacob Reis. Kamehameha: Adam Tuifagu, Willy Melemai, Eric Kalima. Leilehua: Ezakiel Infiel

. McKinley: Matthen Uelese, Ryland Watanabe. Mililani: Ryan Gonzales. Moanalua: Jacob Gaison. Nanakuli: Fenton Palakiko Jr. Pearl City: Conrado Radona. Radford: Kula Tanuvasa, Joshua Auelua. Seabury Hall: Kalani Thibodeaux. Waimea: Jerrick Fabro, James Marques III.

Champs lead All-State teams

Perfection was embodied by two high school volleyball teams this season.

The Kamehameha boys and the Iolani girls teams went undefeated en route to capturing the state championships.

For Kamehameha, it had been eight years since the Warriors tasted the sweetness of a state boys title. For Iolani, the championship was the first for the program born in the late 1970s.

Dynamic leadership was key in the title runs of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu powers, and those leaders have been named the Star-Bulletin's state players of the year and headline this year's All-State teams (Page B9).

Rickey Estrada, Kamehameha's high-flying outside hitter, sparked the Warriors' championship season with his steady play and penchant for coming up with key kills. The senior's efforts earned him state boys player of the year honors.

Iolani's Kanoe Kamana'o did everything for the Raider girls volleyball team, and did it well. As a setter, she directed the Raider offense with precision. When the team needed an offensive boost, she could take an opponent's heart out as a hitter or server, and she was a solid blocker.

The junior can now add the distinction of being the state girls player of the year to her growing list of volleyball accolades.

The championship coaches, both of whom experienced the high of the state title for the first time, are also being recognized for leading their teams to the summit by being named state coaches of the year.

Pono Ma'a took a Kamehameha squad blessed with talent and experience and guided the Warriors to their first state championship since 1993.

Meanwhile, Ann Kang's patience was finally rewarded with a girls state title this season. Kang built the Iolani girls volleyball program from scratch in 1979 and led the Raiders to their first state and ILH championships this fall.

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