It won’t be awhile before Maryknoll seriously considers a move to the upper echelon of ILH girls volleyball.
Maybe a year. Maybe more. Maybe less. After sweeping Hawaii Baptist in two sets, 25-20, 25-19, to win the ILH Division II championship on Thursday, it is quite possible that the Spartans program is destined to move on up.
“I say it’s too early to expect anything. We just want to keep working on our system. We don’t feel we’ve gotten to where we want to be yet. We feel blessed to be here and we thank everyone who made it possible, but we still have a lot of work to do and we have room to grow,” first-year Maryknoll coach Kalepa Feguis said.
Ultimately, one of the coach’s dreams is to move the program up to ILH Division I.
“Oh yeah, I’d be excited to if we could. If it was possible, we would love to,” Feguis said. “I just feel like the girls deserve to play at the top level. That’s the only way we’re going to grow as a team and as people in general, is when you compete against the best.”
There certainly is potential. Maryknoll’s junior varsity team won the JV title — the D-I crown — and there is talent coming up from the intermediate ranks. This season, which had been postponed since last fall, featured a tradition format of D-I and D-II competition in a schedule that was half the normal length.
In one recent season, the league allotted two state-tournament berths among its top programs, and other D-I programs like Le Jardin and Hawaii Baptist battled for a third spot rather than play entirely in D-II. It was a creative way to satisfy those on top, those in D-II and those in between.
Maryknoll currently seems to be a fit with the in-betweens, not that they aren’t powerhouses. When Le Jardin won the D-II state championship, they finished the year ranked No. 6 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.
Without an Open Division in girls volleyball, the goliaths like Kamehameha, Punahou and ‘Iolani have rarely ceded ground to smaller schools and programs in D-I. Buffanblu coach Tanya Fuamatu-Anderson expressed interest in the concept of a volleyball Open Division years ago.
Maryknoll will just grind through the offseason and be prepared for the upcoming fall season. The Spartans will lose middle Shani Houghtailing, who had 13 kills in the title win. Ciera Simmonds, an outside hitter, will soon graduate. Much of the current roster will be back.
Libero Rozalynn Cabuena is a junior. Junior Paige Nakanelua and freshman Haylee DePonte run their 6-2 offense. Freshman Avery Perreira will return at OH. The middle is patrolled by junior Kamryn Correa and sophomore Mira Canali.
Feguis isn’t expecting a change. He is focused on the building process. But he is intrigued.
“We’ll find out in a couple of months,” he said.