Pilipa‘a’s wild ride continued Monday at the 2014 USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championship in Houston, Texas.
Pilipa‘a, a Big Island prep all-star squad, began the day with a 4-2 record with its sights set on advancing to the Gold Bracket.
Pilipa‘a opened the day with a tough 3-game win over 4th-seeded Fog Black of Canada, 25-19, 21-25, 15-13.
The Big Islanders’ second match proved to be a “nail-biter” as well with Pilipa‘a losing the back-and-forth match with Seaside 18-Black of California, 24-26, 25-21, 13-15.
Pilipa‘a’s second-place finish in pool play advanced it into a challenge bracket where two wins would lift head coach Ecko Osorio’s team into the gold bracket on Tuesday.
Pilipa‘a faced San Clemente 18-1 in its first match in the challenge bracket. The Big Islanders looked explosive at times and had spectators “talking about the incredible athleticism of the undersized team from Hawaii,” according to team spokesman Chris Leonard.
A few unforced errors kept the match close, but Pilipa‘a was able to rise to the occasion to defeat the tall team from Southern California, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11.
Pilipa‘a faltered in its final match of the day against eighth-seeded AZ Fear 18-White of Arizona, losing 25-13, 25-18.
Pilipa‘a will play in the Silver bracket Tuesday in its final day of play.