Not this year.
Last year, Kapolei broke through for a rare victory against Mililani in the OIA girls volleyball regular season.
On Thursday night, the Trojans overpowered the Hurricanes 25-11, 25-15 at the Mililani gym.
With the win, Mililani took over sole possession of the OIA West standings at 5-0. The Hurricanes — who are coming off two highly impressive seasons in a row — fell to 4-1.
Junior hitter Falanika Danielson pounded 10 kills with one block for the Trojans. Junior setter Aysia Miller had 10 assists, and she added three kills while senior Madi Goodman handled the setting duties and dished out five assists. Middle Emma Berry added three kills and three blocks.
“I thought we played well together on the whole,” Miller said. “The Waianae game (a 25-17, 26-27, 15-9 victory on the Westside to hand the Seariders their only loss Tuesday) really helped us. It showed us we need to stick together and keep the energy up. It prepared us for this, and it was super sweet to win against Kapolei.
“We have a lot of options this year. Coach Val (Crabbe) puts people in a lot of different spots and she knows that we can play those spots. It helps people do different roles and different positions. Nika (Danielson) contributes a lot by being consistent and rarely making mistakes. Emma (Berry) helps a lot with her height and her blocking. Madi (Goodman) setting allows more options for our front row so I can hit.”
Neither Miller nor Crabbe wanted to compare this Trojans team to earlier versions of the squad.
“I wouldn’t say specifically we are better than last year’s team,” Miller said. “But I feel like we can build up to that and be better. If we keep working in practice, keep pushing, keep doing what coach Val says we we will be able to reach our goals.”
Said Crabbe when asked if this team has the potential to be as good as the 2011 or 2013 OIA champion Trojans: “I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We gotta go game by game.”
In other words, a win over Kapolei early in the season means little.
Kapolei was hurt extra hard by graduation. Gone are some of the stars from the team that placed fifth at states in 2016 and fourth (with the Trojans finishing fifth) in 2017.
“We have no returning starters on offense; the entire offense is brand new,” Hurricanes coach Naidah Gamurot said.
She was asked what she liked about the team’s performance despite the loss.
“It’s more what we didn’t do well,” she said. “Just the basics. That kind of comes with experience. This (Mililani) is a tough team. It’s the first time we had to play at that speed, so it’s good. A good wake-up call for everybody, so we kind of know what we have to work on. Some of these things we were trying to get across to them, but they couldn’t comprehend it because they hadn’t played at that speed. When you speed it up, there’s certain ways you have to think. I think they understand that now.”
Kapolei has three ninth-graders starting.
Sophomore hitter Kawehi Marinas led the offense with five kills, and freshman Alizaysha Sopi, who plays in the middle and outside, added three kills.
“They’re improving really fast,” Gamurot said. “All of them are going to get better in time.”