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HPU libero Pelayo can dig it with the best of them

Cindy Luis

» Kyra Pelayo
» Hawaii Pacific volleyball
» Junior libero
» San Jose, Calif.


She digs deep so that she can dig in on defense.

Hawaii Pacific junior libero Kyra Pelayo may be just 5 feet 3, but she covers a lot of the court. A combination of quickness, volleyball smarts and passion will do that.

It has added up to personal and team success nationally. Pelayo was ranked No. 3 in dig average (6.78 dips) and had the Sea Warriors No. 1 (20.53 dps) in NCAA Division II as of the last report.

The numbers don’t include the 12 she had or the 47 HPU had Friday when swept by Hawaii in 83 minutes. Rather than being disappointed by the loss, Pelayo welcomed the opportunity to compete against the Rainbow Wahine, currently No. 3 in NCAA Division I.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a great experience to play in this environment," Pelayo said of the match in the Stan Sheriff Center. "It was a lot of fun.

"We had nothing to lose and I just wanted to go all out."

A native of San Jose, Calif., Pelayo had a few connections to Hawaii, albeit circuitous. Her high school coach was Stanford great Kim Oden, who played against the Wahine in the mid-1980s … as did Oden’s sisters Elaina (Pacific) and Bev (Stanford).

Pelayo’s club coach was Cobey Shoji, the daughter of Rainbow Wahine coach Dave Shoji.

And then there was Pelayo’s desire to play in Hawaii.

"There was no real reason," the communications major said. "I just thought it would be a really cool place to play.

"Coach (Daryl Kapis) approached me at (Junior Olympics). It was a great opportunity to play and to go to school. I love being here and so happy it has worked out."

So is Kapis.

"She’s exceeded everything I thought she was going to be," the HPU coach said. "She’s got a good head on her shoulders, very mature.

"You want your libero to be a leader and she is. She can just play the game."

HPU finishes the season Saturday when hosting conference leader Hawaii-Hilo. Pelayo’s approach is the same as it has been during her career.

"We just need to go all out," she said.


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