Le Jardin girls volleyball junior setter Nive Tuileta is a one-time state champion.
That title came two years ago, when she was a freshman for the Bulldogs. And that crown — in Division II, which was the school’s second in a row — stands as Tuileta’s biggest accomplishment to date. But she wants to lead her team to bigger things.
Under coach Lee Lamb, the Bulldogs (8-5) are ranked No. 9 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10 and are enjoying a bunch of new accomplishments this year.
>> They voted to move up to Division I and then played a D-I regular-season schedule for the first time.
>> They won their ILH D-I quadrant to qualify for their first D-I spot in the New City Nissan/HHSAA Girls Volleyball State Championships.
>> They captured their first D-I state tournament victory — 25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-14 over Kamehameha-Maui on Monday night.
Next up is what is expected to be an intense battle against OIA champion Mililani (13-0) in Thursday’s quarterfinals at McKinley.
If they can get by the Trojans — a big if — Lamb and Tuileta and the rest of the Le Jardin squad will take aim at the top-tier state banner.
And if that opportunity doesn’t materialize, they plan to work toward joining teams like Kamehameha, Punahou, ‘Iolani, Kahuku, Mililani and Kapolei, among others, as the state’s perennially strong schools.
One thing in Le Jardin’s favor next season is that five juniors will return.
Against the Warriors on Maui on Monday, Alishya Roman had 15 kills and Ellie Diersbock added 14, while Teia Piette came up with 17 digs and Tuileta finished with 20 assists.
Tuileta, who comes from a long line of volleyball players in her family including former University of Hawaii men’s outside hitter Tui Tuileta, is the subject of a feature story in Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.