Hawaii Grown Report:
Kobayashi helps Siena win third straight title
(Punahou '05) has brought the winning Buffanblu tradition to Siena College (N.Y.).
The junior libero had a match-high 28 digs to help Siena defeat Fairfield to win its third straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship.
Sophomore Kaui Robello (Punahou '06) added 24 digs and three aces as the Saints won at Fairfield for the first time in Kobayashi's career.
"Honestly, I don't know how we did it," Kobayashi said. "We came out and got hammered in the first game, but just came together and pushed hard because we knew what was on the line."
The Saints have advanced to the NCAA tournament in each of Kobayashi's three years, but they have always been forced to play tough opponents.
In her freshman season, Siena faced Washington, which went on to win the national title. Last year, they were forced to play eighth-ranked Minnesota.
Kobayashi and Robello are just two of many local girls playing in the tournament.
» Hawaii's opponent in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Tennessee State, features two local athletes.
Freshman Makena Naho'oikaika (Kamehameha-Hawaii '07) played in 107 games this year and recorded 150 digs, 80 kills and 36 blocks. Precious Salazar (Kamehameha-Hawaii '07) averaged 1.18 digs per game in 21 matches.
» Washington sophomore Tamari Miyashiro (Kalani '05) was named to the Pac-10 first team as a libero. The Huskies, who also feature junior Ashley Aratani (Iolani '04), face Missouri in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
» St. John's junior Lena Yee (Moanalua '05) was named the Big East libero of the year for the second consecutive season. Yee and freshman Kayla Motoyama (Roosevelt '07) will try to help the 12th-seeded Red Storm get past Long Island in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
» Other local girls competing in the NCAA tournament are Princeton's Kelli Grobe (Iolani '05), South Dakota State freshman setter Melia Iwamoto (Kalani '07), Pepperdine's duo of Lecca Roberts (Seabury Hall '04) and Kealohilani Kea (Kamehameha '07) and Santa Clara junior Michelle Luxton (Punahou '05)
» Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon
(Waimea '04) was named the Big 12 defensive player of the year. He became the third Big 12 player to win both the defensive freshman and player of the year awards, joining Kansas State's Mark Simoneau and Texas' Derrick Johnson. Dizon has also been named a first-team All-American by Rivals.com. Oregon center Max Unger
(HPA '04) earned second-team honors.
Dizon leads the nation with 149 tackles and is second with 12.41 tackles per game. His 107 solo tackles are 15 more than anybody else in the country.
» Southern California junior linebacker Kaluka Maiava (Baldwin '05) made his first start of the season in place of injured Keith Rivers, and had a team-high 10 tackles in the Trojans' 44-24 Thanksgiving Day victory over Arizona State. The Trojans can advance to the Rose Bowl with a victory tomorrow over UCLA.
» Boston College senior Satoshi Mitsuda
(Punahou '03) did not play as the top-seeded Golden Eagles were upset 2-1 by UMass in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
» Freshman midfielder Jeremy Wittig (Lutheran '06) played 45 minutes in Creighton's 3-0 victory over SMU to advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. Kekoa Osorio (Kamehameha '07) recorded a shot off the bench for the Mustangs, who also have Keoki Haole (Kapolei '07) and Cameron Holm (Hawaii Baptist '06) on their roster.
» Washington freshman goalkeeper Stephen Fung ( Iolani '06) did not make a save as the Huksies were eliminated 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament by UC Santa Barbara.
» Duke goalkeeper Allison Lipsher
(Punahou '04) made two saves in a 2-0 victory over Indiana to advance to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament. It's the farthest the Blue Devils have advanced in the tournament in Lipsher's career. Duke takes on Notre Dame today for a chance to play in the final four.
» Yale sophomore Sophia Merrifield (Punahou '06) was named to the Ivy League first team. Merrifield, a second-team selection as a freshman, started in 17 matches and helped Yale allow just seven goals all season.