At times, the Damien Monarchs have looked like a team of destiny.
The football team hasn’t done too badly, either. It’s Damien’s girls volleyball team, the one that was close to capturing the Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division II title, that is one of the teams to reckon with at the state tourney. That much is certain after a 25-12, 25-9, 25-15 sweep of Pearl City on Wednesday night in the opening round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA D-II State Championships.
With high-flying outside hitter Shelby Capllonch pounding 19 kills, No. 10-ranked Damien looked like a team that is truly on the fringe of D-I elite. The Monarchs are one of six ILH teams in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.
The battles in season with eventual ILH D-II champ Le Jardin and runner-up Hawaii Baptist did plenty to prepare the Monarchs for this time of year. They meet Maui Interscholastic League champion Seabury Hall (14-0) on Thursday at Kaimuki.
“They’ve got taller girls,” Damien coach Don Faumuina said.
“They might be tall like Le Jardin,” Capllonch said.
Damien counters taller teams, or any opponent, by playing fast.
“We need to work on our serve-receive,” Faumuina said after the sweep of Pearl City. “We want tempo to be fast, and it slowed down in the second set.”
Damien has enjoyed a vocal, raucous home crowd this season. They often get that support from the football team, which is busy preparing for the ILH D-II championship on Friday.
“I like it when people at my school ask, ‘You ready for the game tonight? Let’s get it!’ The football boys and teachers,” Capllonch said. “I like it when they’re rowdy. It pumps me up and it pumps the team up.”
Heavenly Campbell (nine kills) also played well for Damien, which got solid setting from Hali‘amaka Gora (14 assists) and Ash-Lynn Herring (11).