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Bailey Choy determined to accept nothing less than No. 1

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    Bailey Choy, a setter on Iolani’s volleyball team, committed to play for Utah. Choy has the Raiders in line for a state title berth for the first time since 2007.

Finishing third in the ILH has become an unwanted tradition for the ‘Iolani girls volleyball team.

It’s a trend that senior setter Bailey Choy and her Raiders teammates are ready to break.


» School: ‘Iolani

» Height: 5 feet 8

» Class: Senior

» Volleyball club: ‘Imi ‘Ike

» College choice: Utah

» Pump-up music: "Fantasy" by Earth, Wind & Fire

» Fun fact: "I like to sing, but I’m not very good."

» Fun fact II: Both parents are chemists

‘Iolani is 7-0 in league play and has earned the No. 1 ranking in the state after sweeping perennial powerhouses Punahou and Kamehameha recently. The Raiders have yet to drop a set in the ILH.

“We’re really happy about it, but we’re never satisfied with where we are right now,” Choy said. “Being able to compete with them is one thing, but being able to overcome that hump is another thing. We still got to stay humble because it’s not over yet and they’re working just as hard.”

‘Iolani coach Kainoa Obrey attributes part of his team’s success to Choy’s leadership and the confidence she brings to a team that has struggled to reach the postseason in the state’s toughest conference. He also describes Choy as a fluid player who is able to play any position and puts her teammates in good positions to be successful.

“The way she does things and plays and practices, she’s not satisfied with anything falling and I think it feeds off of the other kids,” Obrey said. “I think she makes a lot of quick, discernible decisions that are good decisions more often than not and it’s a good level of thinking. She turns bad passes into good sets. We can pass bad and still be productive. It’s nice.”

“Nice” is a fitting description of Choy, who is grateful for her family, friends, and coaches for supporting her journey as a student-athlete. The 17-year-old teared up talking about her younger brother, who supports her at every game, and her parents, who bought their own video-editing software and sent hundreds of recruiting clips to college coaches across the country.

“I’m going to miss (my brother) so much, like I don’t admit it, but I am, and I’m so grateful and blessed to have the family that I have now,” Choy said. “There are so many people who helped me along the way, but it all started with my mom and my dad. I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without them.”

Her parents both work as chemists, and although Choy might not have received their love of science, she did inherit their athleticism. Choy was recently named to the Ann Kang all-tournament team and earned ILH first-team honors her junior year after making second team as a sophomore. She also played baseball, soccer, judo and basketball as a youngster, and credits the wide range of sports for adding to her success.

“I would encourage a lot of kids to just try different things and not just stick with one sport,” Choy said. “I think playing other sports really helps with your agility and just different aspects of life and the game.”

When Choy was growing up, her parents coached girls volleyball at Kamehameha and Punahou and would play at the Natatorium on Sundays. Choy grew to love the game and played her first season for her father’s club, Na Keiki Mauloa.

“When I was younger I remember always crying after practices because I felt like he was always picking on me, but it was because he wanted me to do the best I can,” Choy said of her father, Barney, who currently coaches at Farrington. “I didn’t understand that at the time, but as I grew up I look back at it and I have to thank him for yelling at me and getting on me. He’s the one that taught me everything I know from basics and I was able to build from that till now.”

After her high school career, the 5-foot-8 setter will join ‘Imi ‘Ike club teammate Adora Anae at the University of Utah on a full scholarship. She received interest from Loyola Marymount, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, but made a verbal commitment to the Utes in the summer of her sophomore year and will take her official visit in October.

“Coach Beth (Launiere) offered me in ninth grade, but she was super cool and really understanding,” Choy said. “She gave me time and she didn’t pressure me into committing. But once I got to go to the campus, I just decided it was the right place for me. It also reminded me of home because the people were so nice.”

Although the excitement of playing in the Pac-12 is nearing, Choy is focused on getting the Raiders to their first state tournament since 2007.

It’s a goal she and the seven other seniors on the team have worked toward since last season.

“We had a talk one day where we said, ‘This year we’re going to make a difference and we’re going to change coming in third for ‘Iolani,’ ” Choy said.

The seniors have stuck to their word and have made subtle changes to the program by increasing their competitiveness at practice and by passing out cards with words of motivation to each player before every game. Another difference this season is an added yoga workout twice a week to help with the team’s body control and mental focus. Choy hopes these steps will help the Raiders break the cycle.

“We have to all want it,” Choy said. “This is the time for us to make memories and make a statement. This year we’re ready.”



1. Punahou (14) 140 2
2. Saint Louis 122 1
3. Mililani 109 3
4. Kahuku 104 4
5. Kamehameha 84 5
6. Waianae 66 7
7. Kapolei 49 10
8. Kailua 38 8
9. Farrington 30 6
10. Kapaa 22 9

Other votes: Radford 4, Damien 1, Aiea 1


1. ‘Iolani (12) 120 1
2. Punahou 108 2
3. Kamehameha 93 3
4. Konawaena 83 4
5. Moanalua 76 5
6. Kahuku 51 7
7. Seabury Hall 46 6
8. Mililani 37 8
9. MS-Maui 18 10
10. Mid-Pacific 12 9

Other votes: Hawaii Baptist 9, KS-Hawaii 3, Waiakea 3, Kalaheo 1



Lineman of the Week

Shawn Borges, Damien
The junior linebacker/tight end blocked three field goals and recorded the game-clinching interception with a minute remaining to preserve a 6-3 win over Pac-Five on Friday to help the Monarchs improve to 5-0 for the first time in school history.

Offense Back of the Week

Wayne Taulapapa, Punahou
The senior running back rushed for 159 yards on 32 carries in a 51-45 double-overtime win over No. 2 Saint Louis. His fourth touchdown was the game-winner.

Voted on by coaches and media statewide. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, etc.

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