Wa­iakea’s dou­ble trou­ble duo ruled the BIIF

WAR­RIORS’ KAHAUOLOPUA, HAYASHI NAMED CO-PLAY­ERS OF THE YEAR

West Hawaii Today - - Sports - BY KEVIN JAKAHI

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.”

RICK OGATA/

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.

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