Shiloh Peleras is a weapon in the middle for the Kamehameha girls volleyball team.
Warriors coach Chris Blake smiled and nodded approvingly when a media member called the senior “a weapon and a half” after Thursday night’s 3-0 sweep of third-seeded King Kekaulike in the quarterfinals of the Division I state tournament.
“She’s real physical,” Blake said. “Our middles Shiloh and (senior) Brooke Ka‘awa have to be watched (by the opponents). They give our team that option (in the middle) and it opens up the outside.”
Peleras, who is from the West side of Kauai, is a marvel to watch on short sets by freshman Lexis Akeo. She gives full, almost windmill, swings, and usually the goes down at such a steep angle that the opponents have little chance to get it.
Peleras says she is 5 feet 8 and three-quarters inches, but the roster lists her at 5-10. It doesn’t matter which one is correct because she gets up high enough to do the job. She pounded 11 kills in the win over Na Alii to help push the Warriors (15-5) into the semifinals Friday night against Moanalua.
“She gets up quick and her arm is quick and she has developed ways for us to use her as a weapon,” Blake said. “We’re lucky to have her. She’s a hard worker, not loud. Her play speaks louder.”
When asked what she’s thinking when Akeo gives her a perfect, smashable set, Peleras said,”I’m thinking about doing my job and my job is to put it down. I just want to do my job.”
If she keeps doing her job along with Ka‘awa in the middle and Kayla Afoa and Kili Robins on the outside, the Warriors will be tough to beat.
The road ahead is far from easy, though. Na Mehehune, the semifinal opponent Friday at the McKinley gym, is undefeated at 15-0.
Should the Warriors get back into the final and the opponent happens to be ‘Iolani, the uphill climb continues. Kamehameha is 1-4 in matches against the Raiders this season, including the one for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu title.
The Raiders (16-2) meet Kahuku (14-2) in the other semifinal Friday at the McKinley gym.
Winning the ILH title is not a guarantee that the state title follows, and Blake knows that all too well. The Warriors captured the league last season and then lost to ILH rival Punahou in the state final.
Knowing that a Kamehameha vs. ‘Iolani final is not set in stone, King Kekaulike coach prefaced this statement: “It’s going to be a great battle between Kamehameha and ‘Iolani,” with: “But I don’t want to get too far ahead of it.”