(Some extra info following last night’s Punahou-Maryknoll boys volleyball match. See the game story here.)
Punahou’s Larry “Tui” Tuileta and Micah Ma‘a may be the best hitter-setter duo in the state, even at their young ages.
“We’ve played beach together, Outrigger (Canoe Club) together. The connection is there,” said the springy Tuileta, who watches his diet carefully and doesn’t drink soda.
The team has won two matches now, including a three-set victory at Kamehameha, since returning from the Best of the West tournament last week. Returnees like Tuileta are fueled by last year’s runner-up finish to state champion Kamehameha.
“This year, we’re more serious after what happened last year. We don’t want to suffer the consequences like we did last year. Last year, we kind would just go with the flow and we never really improved over the season. This year, we want to peak at the end of the season,” Tuileta said.
The trip to California was invaluable.
“We were able to find our rhythm as a team,” Tuileta added. “The teams up there are different from here. Hawaii teams have something different about them, the mana. We try to use every way possible to win.”
Coach Rick Tune is exercising both discipline and patience for his relatively inexperienced team.
“We’re real young. We may have seniors, but they’re seniors who’ve never played in the position they’re in now. We’ve got players playing for the first time like Canton Kaumatule. He’s a freshman and this is his first month of volleyball,” Tune said.
“Even Micah and those guys who have been around the sport their whole lives, it’s different. When you put on the Punahou jersey and go through the grind of the season, it’s different than club ball or playing in a three-day tournament. It’s a three-month season and you have to keep that work ethic, that intensity, that discipline for the entire three months to get better,” Tune said.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser