Hawaii’s Spike and Serve won the USA Volleyball Boys Junior 17U National Championship in Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday.
The team won the national title with a two-set sweep over Elite Boys Adi 17Lime, a club team based in Ocala, Fla.
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The title is Spike and Serve’s ninth national championship.
“It’s crazy the way sports is a microcosm of life. This team experienced a ton of adversity coming up to this tournament,” head coach Rick Tune told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “We started Day 1 with three matches against a nationally ranked and went 1-2 in the pool. We were on life support on Day 1. … Four teams make it out of the pool and we were No. 4 so I just kept telling the boys, ‘Guys, we’re a better team than this, we know it, we just gotta keep believing.’ I don’t know if they believed it at that point. … They just kept grinding, they just kept battling and it showed who they are, who this group has always been. It’s just a great story about resilience and overcoming the odds. We had one of the smallest teams in the tournament. One of my good friends who’s a college coach always said, ‘It’s not how big you are, it’s how great you are.’ And I think we just showed that size definitely has its place, but it never beats skill.”