As with any trip, the Granbury Lady Pirates volleyball team brought home a few souvenirs from Hawaii.
One will be on display in the high school trophy case for all to see, the championship award for winning the Maui Volleyball Invitational.
The Lady Pirates, improving to 9-0, swept all eight matches they played on the island, capped with a 25-23, 25-18 victory against Seabury in the championship match.
“The tournament experience was fantastic,” said Lady Pirate coach Tammy Clark. “The Kamehameha school team was very hospitable, making us feel very welcome with the practice and team building on Wednesday before the tournament got started.
“The girls quickly made friends, which made the entire tournament very fun.”
In the first round of pool play, the Lady Pirates had little trouble with Kelaulike (25-12, 25-10) and Kamehameha (25-13, 25-12) before topping Castle (25-18, 25-17).
Friday, the teams were re-pooled, but again Granbury swept all three foes, Hanna (25-19, 25-17), McKinley (25-18, 25-22), and Mary Knoll (25-17, 25-23).
This led to a semifinals rematch with Castle in the Gold Bracket, which Granbury won in thrilling fashion, 25-23, 25-22. Aubrey Ezell had five kills and served five aces, while Hannah Hiler added four kills and Amber Strange had three blocks.
“It was a fantastic match with a strong team,” said Clark. “We ran a balanced offense. The presence Amber and Sydney (Carpenter) are presenting in the middle helped open up the outsider hitters quite a bit.”
Ezell and Hiler again led the way in the championship match, with Ezell posting six kills and serving four aces, and Hiler collecting five kills.
The Lady Pirates took the momentum early in the match and kept it going.
“We moved the ball around well offensively,” said Clark.
The outcome was far different from the previous trip to Hawaii in 2010. In the Ann Kang Invitational the Lady Pirates were 2-6, but won their final two matches to claim the title in the Copper Bracket.
They came out of that tournament, however, and went on to post the best season in Lady Pirate history. They finished 32-13 overall, 14-0 in district, and advanced three rounds deep in the playoffs.
While Clark isn’t making any such bold predictions yet about this season, she does acknowledge that the tournament was certainly a major confidence builder for what lies ahead.
“This is a fantastic showing this early in the season,” said Clark. “We were able to see some things that we will be ready to work on back in the gym when we return to Granbury, but here we also learned valuable lessons on timing, reading and just our overall game in general.”
The Lady Pirates were playing at home against Weatherford last night. This weekend they host the Granbury Tournament.
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Maui Volleyball Invitational
Pool play, first round
Granbury defeated Kekaulike 25-12, 25-10
Granbury defeated Kamehameha 25-13, 25-12
Granbury defeated Castle 25-18, 25-17
Pool play, second round
Granbury defeated Hana 25-19, 25-17
Granbury defeated McKinley 25-18, 25-22
Granbury defeated Mary Knoll 25-17, 25-23
Granbury defeated Castle 25-23, 25-22
Granbury defeated Seabury 25-23, 25-18
Granbury tournament leaders
Kills – Erin Jones 34, Aubrey Ezell 26, Amber Strange 22, Hannah Hiler 21.
Blocks – Strange 7, Sydney Carpenter 3, Ezell 2.5, Taylor DeYoung 2.5.
Aces – Ezell 18, Madison Miller 8, Karis Beasley 7.
Assists – Ezell 144.
Digs – Breanna Crain 78, Shelby Shade 51, Jones 48, Ezell 46.
Granbury record – 9-0.