Brande: Hawaii trip helps teams bond

The Newport Harbor High girls' volleyball team played at the Ann Kang Volleyball Invitational at Iolani High School on the island of Oahu, Hawaii this past week. Coach Dan Glenn usually chooses to bring his team when he feels that it is special. The tournament features many very good teams from Hawaii and the mainland.

Coach Glenn utilizes the trip to show his girls not only great volleyball but many traditions of Hawaii. Besides the normal surfing and snorkeling activities, the team takes an early morning hike up Diamondhead, visits the Pearl Harbor Memorial and jumps off the rock at Waimea Bay. All of this is educational and important for team bonding.

After an opening tournament win over a very physical Kahuku team, the Sailors battled but had a tough run with teams from Iolani (home school), Memorial (Texas) and Lakewood (California). They finished the tournament with a close loss to Maryknoll (another Hawaiian team).

Sammie Yeager patrolled the court at libero while outside hitters Brooke Schweitzer, Gabby Shelley, and Remy Wilson were complimented with the back court play of Kaitlin Bell and Katie Duhoux. Ellie Hagadorn did most of the setting while senior Logan Grove led with her all-around play (setting, hitting, and blocking). Jessie Rath, freshman Vivian Donohue and Kailynn Thomas were the mainstays as middle blockers. Senior setter Felicity Giddens and sophomore middle, Waverly Trotter played well also. Every player contributed throughout the tournament.

In Maui, Sage Hill won a similar tournament with a two-game win in the final over Edison (Huntington Beach). Outside hitters Kekai Whitford and Halland McKenna and setter, Maddie Abbott, led the Sage Hill championship.

These summer trips to Hawaii really help with short-term team bonding and also leave long-term memories that these players will always have.

The Duke's Festival Sand Volleyball Tournament was an age-group event held on Aug. 16 at Queen's Beach on Oahu. Cole Pender who has spent time every summer in Hawaii and learned to play as a 5-year-old on the volleyball courts at the Outrigger Canoe Club, teamed with Davis Lau, who is a libero-type juggernaut who will be an eighth-grader at Punahou, to win the 14s championship. They complimented each other to beat the best on the Island.

Accompanying the Newport Harbor team, Coach Dan Glenn brought his son Jaden, who is a talented 12-year old player. Jaden teamed with Jack Lockwood whose father, Adam Lockwood was an outstanding volleyball and basketball player at Estancia High School before becoming an All-American volleyball player at the University of Hawaii. They were able to win the 12s championship with a final victory over two boys from Kauai.

Scott Schweitzer was also in Hawaii to watch his sister, Brooke, play for Newport. He brought Spencer Lawrence from the Newport team and they entered the 16"s division. They finished a strong third after losing to the eventual champs. There were some Legends of Hawaiian volleyball who had sons playing in the tournament such as Marc Haine whose boys played in the 12s and Jon Stanley whose son won the 16s.

Schweitzer, Lawrence and Cole Pender all played on the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club 15 Asics team that won the national championship in Houston in early July.

What a great experience to compete with so many players from different places.

CHARLIE BRANDE is a former head coach of Corona del Mar High, Newport Harbor and UC Irvine volleyball programs.

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