Waiakea’s double trouble duo ruled the BIIF
WARRIORS’ KAHAUOLOPUA, HAYASHI NAMED CO-PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
One can’t work without the other, and that summed up the partnership between Jordyn Hayashi and Kayla Kahauolopua.
The Waiakea seniors were indispensable partners on the volleyball court — Hayashi as a sharp passing libero, who started the offense, and Kahauolopua as a relentless outside hitter, who highlighted it.
Last season, Hayashi made league history when she was named a co-BIIF player of the year, becoming the first libero to be honored.
She doubled down and brought Kahauolopua along to share the honor as BIIF Division I co-players of the year, as selected by the Hawaii Tribune- Herald, West Hawaii Today and the league’s coaches.
They’re joined on the AllBIIF first team by teammate Melina Devela, a middle blocker. Other members are Hilo hitters Kawai Ua and Lexi Paglinawan, setter Kailee Kurokawa, and Kealakehe sophomore Anastasia Tuifua.
Devela was Waiakea’s secondary offensive threat. Ua and Paglinawan were undersized hitting giants, and Tuifua was a presence as a middle blocker.
Last year, Hayashi was shocked when she was selected POY. A year later, it’s the same feeling.
“I can’t believe it. I am so honored to be player of
the year with one of my closest friends,” Hayashi said. “Kayla constantly pushed me to be the best libero I could be and held me accountable for my performance. I sometimes worried that Kayla was carrying too much of the offensive load.
“But she’s amazing, and I knew she could do anything. Kayla was the perfect teammate. She was a leader, role model, communicator, and definitely a supporter.”
Maybe it’s no coincidence that partners share the biggest stage and make the best memories together.
In 2012, a season on the diamond that will be remembered forever, Waiakea’s Quintin Torres and Kodi Medeiros combined on a no-hitter against Baldwin to bring home the school’s first HHSAA Division I championship.
It was the same thing when Kahauolopua and Hayashi co-authored the greatest comeback ever for a BIIF volleyball championship.
The Warriors dropped the first two sets to Hilo, trailed late in Games 4 and 5 but managed an unlikely rally behind the clutch play of Kahauolopua and Hayashi.
Kahauolopua, a 5-foot-8 lightning bolt, hammered 19 of her match-high 34 kills in the last two sets. Hayashi put up a matchhigh 23 digs and set the offense in motion with on-the-money, serve-receive passing.
It wasn’t by accident that the two stepped up when the Warriors saw the BIIF title start to walk out of their home gym.
Kahauolopua and the 5-4 Hayashi come in different packages but share a lot of similarities, such as intangibles that light fires when the team is stuck in dark tunnels.
“They have the work ethic, a passion for the sport, the ability to persevere, athleticism and have teamwork,” Waiakea coach Ashley Hanohano said. “As captains, they were given a lot of responsibilities on and off the court. Kayla carried the role as an all-around hitter. With our style of defense, Jordyn is in charge of 75 percent of the back row. As the libero, she was in for 5 ½ rotations, and that allowed her to have the greatest amount of digs.”
Hayashi put that time to good use. Back in September, she had a monster match with 43 digs in a five-set loss to the Vikings. That, of course, only increased the drama for the BIIF championship.
The dynamic duo will go their separate ways for college and be far away from one another.
Kahauolopua and Hilo setter Makena Ahuna will play ball at Eastern Arizona, which qualified for the national junior college championships.
Hayashi will be 2,299 miles away at Ithaca College, a Division III school in New York, where she’ll major in psychology.
It’s unlikely that they’ll meet on a volleyball court again, at least on the collegiate level.
But the dynamic duo will always be connected, sharing the POY award and a partnership that led to the greatest comeback for a BIIF championship.
“The BIIF championship comeback was definitely the most memorable and rewarding game of my high school career,” Hayashi said. “Winning in my home gym, in my senior year, playing in front of the whole town and representing my coaches, family and school was definitely the best part. This season is one to remember.”
Waiakea seniors Kayla Kahauolopua (right) and Jordyn Hayashi carried the Warriors to the greatest comeback in BIIF Championship history during the 2017 girls volleyball season.