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Pilipa‘a starts off AAU nationals with 3-0 record

The Pilipa’a 17’s finished with a 3-0 match record through the first day of pool play in the AAU National Championship Tournament on Friday in Orlando, Fla.

The Big Island girls high school-level team is 3-0 in its pool, with a 6-0 game record. Pilipa’a is playing in the tournament’s 17’s Premium Division — “a division between Open and Club divisions in the national tournament,” according to Pilipa’a head coach Chris Leonard.

On Friday, Pilipa’a beat Nook 17 Elite of Pennsylvania 25-19, 25-22), topped the Asics Team Indiana Elite 17 Open team 28-26, 25-20, and highly regarded Coast 17-2 Kane from California 25-19, 25-8.

The win over Coast 17-2 Kane was a bit of revenge since the California squad eliminated Pilipa’a from gold medal contention at last summer’s Las Vegas Classic. Pilipa’a placed 5th out of 142 teams in the division.

Leonard said Pilipa’a played their best game of the day against Coast 17-2 Kane in the second game Friday. The Big Islanders started with a sideout and then scored 11 straight points with Alison Fuata at the service line. Leonard also noted that Ka’iu Ahuna “was virtually unstoppable on the outside,” and when Coast tried to double block her, Zoe Leonard was able to connect with middles Kadara Marshall and Ke’ala Watson and opposite Taylor Alicuben.

“Libero Kamalani Fujikawa played her best match of the day as well with excellent passes and numerous digs,” Leonard said.

Pilipa’a will open Day 2 with a Saturday morning matchup with Inside Out 17 Black at 3 a.m. Hawaii time.


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