Iolani passes Kamehameha in poll
The blue flag is down and a red flag has risen.
Iolani collected all 10 first-place votes to claim the No. 1 ranking in the Star-Bulletin Girls Volleyball Top 10 today. The Raiders swept through three matches last week, including a sterling performance against previously top-ranked Kamehameha. More importantly, Iolani is now in the driver's seat in its league.
The first-round winner of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu will earn an automatic state-tournament berth, which is why Iolani's win is doubly sweet for both the program and fans. After seeing Kamehameha dominate for the past two seasons -- the Warriors were ranked No. 3 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com before losing at Iolani last week -- the Raiders have reason to be optimistic. In fact, they could be on a path to their second state title ever, which would be their first since 2001, when the late Ann Kang was coach.
Punahou is in the third spot in the poll, followed by Kahuku and Roosevelt. Mililani and Sacred Hearts are tied for sixth.
Jockeying for position
As midseason passes, playoff hopefuls are fighting for every advantage possible.
Former Sacred Hearts coach Jonathon Tom notes that the next two weeks are crucial for teams in the playoff hunt. Now coaching at St. Andrew's Priory, Tom believes his former team might pull off a surprise or two in the rugged Division I slate of the ILH.
"Sacred Hearts Academy has the best outside chance of all D-I teams of knocking off one of the top three for one of the three state bids that the ILH will receive this year," Tom said. "It may be a long shot but the Academy definitely has the talent to surprise someone during the ILH D-I tournament."
Sacred Hearts, now coached by Derwin Tsutsui, is 7-3, which means the Lancers are fourth in the ILH standings. Even then, they're tied with Mid-Pacific.
Hawaii Baptist moved down to ILH Division II in girls volleyball and appears to be the strongest candidate to secure a state berth there.
"Hawaii Baptist Academy appears to be the most consistent team in D-II at this time," Tom added.
HBA won all three of its matches last week and returned to the Top 10 at No. 10 today.