Anybody who watches the Kahuku football team is aware of two Red Raiders defenders with the last name Fonoimoana-Vaomu.
They are brothers — Alex Fonoimoana-Vaomu, a junior defensive back, and Aaron Fonoimoana-Vaomu, a junior linebacker.
And Red Raider nation has another heavy but lesser known “hitter” in Makayla Fonoimoana-Vaomu, their sister. She is a freshman on the girls volleyball team, and she had a team-high eight kills to lead Kahuku to a 25-15, 25-23 victory over Farrington on senior night in the OIA regular-season finale at the Red Raiders gym Thursday.
“She’s just a fearless freshman,” Kahuku coach Tuli Tevaga said. “It’s great to have that charisma from somebody so young. She’s willing to learn and she stepped up to the plate being a starter. For her to take on the responsibility so young and to take it fearlessly swinging and blocking for us has been great.”
Kahuku (10-1) is trying to get back the OIA title it won in 2016 that Moanalua took away last year. The win over Farrington clinched the OIA East title and gave the Red Raiders a first-round bye in the playoffs.
“At this point, we’re trying to continue developing what we have, fine-tuning, not working on changing anything drastically,” Tevaga said.
Tevaga also said she is working to get the leaders in the middle — sophomore Mary Fonoimoana and senior Penina Mata’u — ready for the postseason. Those two have been a big part of the Red Raiders’ season so far. They did not get involved as much as usual in Thursday’s win.
Kahuku had a bit of trouble in the second set Thursday, when Farrington roared back from a 16-10 deficit for a 22-all tie.
“Our girls saw the end before they got there,” Tevaga said. “When it started going point for point, reality set in. It was not the win they wanted or the spread they wanted, but they kicked it in and came together when they needed to and that’s all that matters.”
Added Fonoimoana-Vaumu: “We just kind of choked a little (late in the second set), but once we got our passes and connected with our setters, we just started to put it away one at a time. Our focus is to continue working hard at practice and staying focused in school and getting our grades up.”
Farrington (9-2) setter Jerica Vele kept the motor going for the Govs in the latter stages of the match. They start the OIA playoffs at home Wednesday.
“She did great tonight, a great leader, not so vocal and leads by example,” Farrington coach Kelly Ong said. “Nice, steady. If hitters are nervous or having a bad hitting day, she’s a good, calming effect.”
Vele had a match-high 18 assists.
“We knew coming into this game that it was going to be very, very hard,” Vele said. “Our energy was not there in the first set, but when we got to 18 or 19 in the second set we started picking it up and our (visiting) crowd got our back. We still came up short, but I feel like we played pretty good today.”
“Kahuku was picking up all of our balls and so we just have to be smarter with our shots.”
The Govs have won 10 OIA championships, but their three latest were in Division II (2007, 2012, 2015). Their last Division I crown came in 1999.
The Red Raiders have 12 OIA D-I titles and one D-I state championship (2002).
As the East’s top seed, Kahuku is in a good spot. The top seed in the East has won the last four OIA D-I tournaments and five of the last six.
The East’s second seed has not won the title since Kahuku in 2010. A third seed or lower has not won the tournament since Moanalua in 2007.