The past handful of years has seen a rise in the number of BIIF volleyball players who earn scholarships to play for Division III schools or junior colleges on the mainland.
Not everyone sticks with it, but Kryssie Okinaka and Kiani Troy have and are getting rewarded for it.
Okinaka, a 2016 Waiakea graduate, was named NJCAA Div. II Volleyball defensive player of the week last week after helping No. 14 Iowa Central to four wins in five matches, notching 141 digs in 19 sets as Iowa Central defeated two ranked opponents.
Okinaka, a sophomore defensive specialist who also plays on the Tritons’ basketball team, recorded a season-high 37 digs against Hawkeye.
She has compiled at least 20 digs in nine consecutive matches, and entering Wednesday’s play Okinaka is eighth in the nation in digs.
• Kamehameha grad Troy was named Northwestern Athletic Conference setter of the week earlier in the month for a 12-set stretch for D-III Highline in which the freshman registered 120 assists, nine kills, nine aces, eight blocks, and 21 digs.
“Kiki has continued to improve since day 1 of practice and has quickly been able to adapt from HS/club to the college setting,” Thunderbird coach Chris Littleman said in a release.
Entering play Wednesday, Troy is averaging 5.69 assists per set.
• Ahuna back home
The most high-profile BIIF alum playing collegiately is UC Riverside’s Kaiu Ahuna, a Kamehameha alum who is second in the Big West in kills per set (5.07), fourth in kills (213) and 18 in digs per set.
The Highlanders (5-9, 0-3 Big West) face the University of Hawaii in Honolulu on Saturday in a match that will be televised on OC16.Ahuna’s status is unclear. She played in only one set in a loss on Sept. 21 against UC Santa Barbara, and Ahuna didn’t play because of an injury in Saturday’s loss to Cal Poly.