After an exciting win over Mira Costa High in the quarterfinal match by scores of 17-25, 25-17, 15-9, the Newport Harbor girls' volleyball team played Edison in the gold bracket semifinals of the Ann Kang Tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The Sailors' Sunset League rival rallied to win the first game, 25-23, and continued the push in Game 2 to win the match. An excellent Hawaiian team from Moanaloa defeated Mater Dei in the other semifinal. This created a third-place match between Newport Harbor and Mater Dei, which will be two of the top teams in the CIF Southern Section picture this season.
Mater Dei prevailed, 25-23, 20-25, 15-4, on Saturday night at the Iolani School.
In the semifinal, the toll of two tournament days and Tuesday's scrimmage against Punahou and Kamehameha was evident as Newport Harbor lost the second game, 25-15. Three days of tournament play, coupled with Tuesday's scrimmages with Punahou and Kamehameha, had left the Newport girls exhausted.
Cinnamon Sary and Alexandra Holbrook, both of whom will be seniors, were named to the All-Tournament team. An extremely competitive and talented senior-laden team, Newport will use this tournament to evaluate for the upcoming season. Coach Dan Glenn always has his eyes on November, which is why his teams are always so good in the playoffs.
Sary, who was an all-tournament choice last year in the same event, had 26 kills in Saturday's three matches, including 11 kills, eight digs and five blocks against Mira Costa.
Holbrook had 10 kills and two blocks against Mira Costa.
Kasey Thompson, a senior this fall, had nine kills in the three matches. Her younger sister Torey, who will be a junior, had 64 assists.
Sunday and Monday was Hawaiian team bonding time for the Sailors, with trips to the waterfalls in the Pali and to Hanauma Bay for the best snorkeling on Oahu. I know that Glenn is extremely thankful for the help of assistant coaches Taylor Govaars and Sam Stafford. Mary Buckingham is another major part of the support group.
Also in Honolulu for a tournament is the Corona del Mar High girls' water polo team.
Seeded No. 1 in the 18s division, CdM met a team from New Zealand in Sunday's tournament final. CdM's roster includes Alex Musselman, Pipa Saunders, Cassidy Papa, Diana Murphy, Victoria Pierotti, Genevieve and Erica Weed, Natalie Wong, Caitlyn Brandenburger, Avery Warwick, and Morgan Stewart. Sam Bailey is the head coach who believes in the Hawaiian team-bonding experience.
With all of the Hawaiian traditions like chili rice, leis and Plumeria flowers over your right ear, it is a special time for these young athletes. The Outrigger Canoe Club has been outstanding with its hospitality. Newport's Ann Pender keeps the Ohana spirit going. Nancy Robertson is typically with us in Hawaii. But she is in China watching her daughter Leah play water polo in the World University Games.