Konawaena head coach Ainsley Keawekane is on Oahu for this week’s Ann Kang Invitational Volleyball Tournament.
He obviously didn’t come here to escape the mugginess and heat of Kailua-Kona. It’s the same stifling weather here, maybe worse. A few hours after flying in on Thursday, he actually went and changed his clothes due to the sweat factor.
The two-time defending Division II state championship coach was greeted by Hawaii Prep World at the ‘Iolani gym.
The discussion turned to the back-to-back titles, of which, by the way, he feels very fortunate to have had (and still has) a solid group of athletes leading that charge.
Keawekane related a dream he had before the Wildcats were eliminated from the Big Island Interscholastic Federation tournament two years ago.
“I told my whole team about that dream I had,” he said. “It was of a banner and I was running with it. When we lost that game, all of the players were crying but one of the players, McKenna Ventura, said, ‘Coach, that banner you dreamed about must have been for the state championship.’ All of the girls looked up, smiling. I guess it was for the state championship.”
Keawekane has a solid nucleus of players back, including sisters Chanelle Molina, Celena Molina and Cherilyn Molina, along with sisters McKenna and McKayla Ventura, as well as Haena Keawekane, the coach’s daughter.
In three matches at the Kang tournament Thursday, Konawaena defeated Upland Christian (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), and lost to Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) and ‘Iolani.
The Wildcats are preparing for another run at the D-II state title.
“I like it better when we don’t have a target on our backs, but the girls we have make my job easier.”
Asked if he has had any banner dreams since, Keawekane said, “No.”
Probably not needed.