Another Fonoimoana-Vaomu powers Kahuku

Kahuku’s Makayla Fonoimoana-Vaomu celebrated a kill in the first set of Thursday's 25-15, 25-23 victory over Farrington. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

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.


  1. RR4L October 5, 2018 6:17 am

    Awesome write up! Correction, Kahuku has 13 OIA titles. They won in 1969. My other was apart of that team. GO BIG RED!

  2. Mahatma Gandhi October 5, 2018 12:57 pm

    Come on RRFL. the OIA volleyball championship doesn’t count for beans. It’s the state championship that matters. The ILH rules state volleyball. Who even knows the last time a OIA school was even in the final? Kamehameha has played in the state championship game something like the last 15 years, and has won most of them. Iolani Red Raiders got them once or twice, Punahou got them a couple of times. That kind of ILH dominance tells you the ILH is doing major recruiting in the sport. They never used to recruit volleyball players, but as the sport has grown in popularity, schools like the Iolani RR now want to make their name in volleyball and basketball, conceding football to the St Louis football academy, win-at-all-costs football academy. Good Catholic values, Predatory priests, good family values too!

  3. RR4L October 5, 2018 1:08 pm

    Mahatma Gandhi, 2002 and it was Kahuku. Maybe they should merge the ILH and OIA tops schools into one Open division like football? That should level off the playing field right? Btw, tell me what ILH school does’t recruit for any sport, WE ALL KNOW THAT (insert “ROLLING EYES” emoji). Lastly, any title counts for something especially in Red Raider land.

  4. Mahatma Gandhi October 5, 2018 1:45 pm

    RRFL, I came of age in the 1970s. I’m telling you, Punahou and Iolani would recruit a few Samoans a year to play all sports. To make them competitive with OIA schools, not so dominant to the point that no other team stood a chance against them. Like St Lulu today. Not just football too. Jerry Scanlan played football and basketball for Iolani in the 1970s. Mark Tuinei was Mosi Tatupu played 3 sports for Punahou in the 1970s. I don’t think Damien recruited in any sport back then.
    St Lulu has always been Pordagee and Hawaiian. You rarely saw a Samoan on their roster back in the 1970s. If you did see one, he usually was a role player, not a star. So I doubt they was recruiting back then. Except for Wayne Apuna. Maryknoll recruited basketball players. basketball only. Nobody recruited volleyball players back then. Incredibly, Roosevelt boys won 3 straight boys volleyball state championships mid 1970s. No way that happens nowadays.
    Easy to tell Samoans recruits. Big families, not so long in the islands to have established themselves in the community to land the high paying jobs, to where they can then afford to send their kids to private schools. . Hawaiian recruits way more difficult to identify. Cuz so many schools want Hawaiians in their school and go out of their way to get them in, regardless if they play sports or not. And get rich and poor Hawaiians.

  5. SLC96822 October 5, 2018 3:34 pm

    Mahatma Gandhi I have nothing against Kahuku or any other school whether it be OIA or ILH. I am an Alumni of ILH, bt who cares. What matters is that we are supporting ALL STUDENT ATHLETES and whatever sports they are playing. So many of you get your self twisted up in unnecessary drama, and want to be that Cyber Bully or make a useless point under a fictitious name because either you were never a real athlete or because that’s the only way you can feel good about yourself is to down these kids who strive day in and day put to be student athletes. Point blank period, stop being that person that always tries to make everything about you and let these kids enjoy their high school years of playing and to take things to the next level. Come on Mahatma Gandhi, I know you can be a mature person and spread a more positive vibe when commenting on student athletes that are doing big things. Be a LOVER…Not a Hater. We all know as well as me that we’ve recruited from student athletes into the ILH from Kahuku and other OIA schools, so let’s just leave that subject alone.

  6. RR4L October 5, 2018 7:00 pm

    SLC96822, Thank you!!! Mahatma Gandhi is talking bubbles lol!!! Let’s support all student athletes no matter what school!

  7. Hauula Boy October 6, 2018 8:15 am

    St. Louis had one of the greatest half Samoan dual sports (Football & Basketball) recruit the ILH and State of Hawaii has ever seen in 1966,1967 & 1968. His name is Jim Nicholson. When Kahuku won ROIA and OIIA Tiles in Basketball in 66,’ 67,’. & 68,’ St. Louis won ILH & State Titles in 66,67, & 68, with Jim leading the way. He was an ILH All Star as an end in Football for the Crusaders. He went on to Michigan State to play football and finally made it to the NFL Kansas City Chiefs. Today, he is an Attorney and well respected individual in the Community. I know because I was on the Kahuku 1968 OIA Basketball Championship Team under Coach Harry Kahuanui. Junior Ah You, Clayton Ah Quinn, James Felipe, Wayne Chu, and Joe Keliiholokai was our starting 5, back then.

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