The Maui News 2017 MIL Girls Volleyball All-Stars

Leauanae, Pilotin honored: Senior outside hitters helped lead teams to league championships

Talia Leauanae (photo) led the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team to its first MIL Division I title since 2013. Erica Pilotin (second photo) helped Seabury Hall reclaim the MIL Division II crown after the Spartans’ streak of five straight was broken last season. The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photos

Talia Leauanae (photo) led the Kamehameha Schools Maui girls volleyball team to its first MIL Division I title since 2013. Erica Pilotin (second photo) helped Seabury Hall reclaim the MIL Division II crown after the Spartans’ streak of five straight was broken last season. The Maui News / CHRIS SUGIDONO photos

Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Talia Leauanae and Seabury Hall’s Erica Pilotin both enjoyed their senior volleyball seasons more than they expected to.

For both Upcountry outside hitters, the year ended in Maui Interscholastic League championships and Player of the Year nods.

“My senior year has been the best year so far,” said Leauanae, voted the MIL Division I POY by the league’s coaches. “Not hating on the past teams, but I really just loved this year, I loved how close we were, and I love being with them 24/7.”

Pilotin said she was surprised by being named the MIL Division II POY, but gave all the credit to her team and coaches.

“My team, they’re just there for me through it all,” she said. “They’re pushing me, making me laugh, they’re always working hard. You can’t be player of the year without the team of the year, so I just really owe all to them.”

Erica Pilotin

Erica Pilotin

Leauanae is joined on the D-I first team by teammates Aliah Ayau (setter) and Kimani Fernandez-Roy (middle blocker); King Kekaulike’s Nina Macphetridge (outside hitter) and Chandler Cowell (outside hitter); Baldwin’s Alisa Kuehu (outside hitter); and Lahainaluna’s Ashley Ganer (outside hitter).

Pilotin is joined on the D-II first team by teammates Isabel Bennett (outside hitter) and Kiana Hyman (setter); Hana’s Nohokula Lind (outside hitter/middle blocker); Molokai’s Shaelyn McCutcheon (outside hitter); Haleakala Waldorf’s Mileina Sniffen (outside hitter); and St. Anthony’s Tammy Abrew (outside hitter).

Mileina Sniffen and her sister Miachelli Sniffen, a second-team selection, are the first MIL All-Stars ever for their school.

Leauanae was her best when the MIL title was on the line in an overall championship playoff against King Kekaulike. She had to receive treatment for cramps and a headache down the stretch, but she fought through and finished with 18 kills and 17 digs in the five-set win that gave the Warriors their first overall league title since 2013.

Leauanae plans on continuing her volleyball career in college, but is now playing soccer for the first time since she was in the 5th grade.

GirlsVBall_AS

“I’m trying out for goalie because I can’t do good with my feet,” she said. “I just wanted to try something new, looking to have fun and also learn some more from it.”

MIL championship coaches — Alex Akana of Kamehameha Maui and Scott Zucco of Seabury Hall — are the choices of their peers as coaches of the year. Both will miss their senior leaders.

“It was so helpful to have such a reliable hitter in general,” Akana said of Leauanae. “I mean, outside hitter, great, but such a reliable player who showed up every game, basically. She never had a single bad game, so it was awesome to coach her. It really was.”

Pilotin will concentrate on a planned architecture major in college rather than continue with volleyball at the next level.

She recovered in six months from tears in her anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament, partial tears in her posterior cruciate ligament and meniscus and a fractured patella in her left knee late in her junior year.

“It was just so much fun, every game,” she said of her senior season. “It was never too intense, we were always laughing, giggling, but still playing with maturity. Every point we knew we were going to work hard and it was going to come out how it came out — can’t really stress about that stuff, so might as well have fun.”

Without Pilotin last season, the Spartans failed to make the D-II state tournament, which began in 2005, for the first time.

“You could see her impact when we lost her last year,” Zucco said. “She was out the whole year with her injury, she injured her knee the first or second game. It’s tough when you lose a really strong player with great character and great leadership. … This year you could really see what adding Erica back into that mix does. Her passing is amazing, her defense is incredible.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

Division I Second Team

Siena DeCambra – Baldwin – Setter – Sophomore

Nanna Inouye – King Kekaulike – Libero – Freshman

Shaina Rapanot-Uyechi – King Kekaulike – Libero/setter – Senior

Logan Spencer – KS Maui – Opposite hitter – Junior

Inez Garcia – KS Maui – Defensive specialist – Senior

Shay-Lea Samiu – Lahainaluna – Outside hitter – Senior

Lyric Love – King Kekaulike – Middle blocker – Junior

Division II Second Team

Miachelli Sniffen – Haleakala Waldorf – Setter – Senior

Taye Mowat – Molokai – Outside hitter – Junior

Shya Roback – Hana – Outside hitter – Junior

Shaylee Roback – Hana – Setter – Junior

Lorralynn Shai Rawlins – Molokai – Middle blocker – Senior

Mary-Grace Ringor – Molokai – Setter – Junior

Raquel Malacas – Lanai – Middle blocker – Junior

Honorable Mention

DIVISION I–Baldwin: Sela Panuve. Kamehameha Maui: Tatiana Martinez; King Kekaulike: Lauren Albrecht; Lahainaluna: Taylor Ganer, Alea Cervantes; Maui High: Ana Malafu, Mika Hifo, Jayden Sing.

DIVISION II–Hana: Jadelyn Hoopai, Sara-Ann Kanakaole, Anela English, Fushia Pua; Maui Prep: Cassidy Otto, Rebecca Geng; Molokai: Sehja Luhi Pedro, Kaitlin DeRouin, Mary-Rose Ringor, Kawohi Duvauchelle; Seabury Hall: Sydney Walker, Ella Connor, Sevilla Leuteneker.

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