Syenna Masaki is the unquestioned leader of the Kalaheo Mustangs in girls volleyball.
Keisha Schutte is a well-rounded player for the Campbell Sabers.
There were others who also shined during the Mustangs’ three-set victory over the Sabers in the first round of the Oahu Interscholastic Association playoffs on Wednesday night at the Aiea High gym, but those two stood out for different reasons.
Masaki is easy to spot. She is vocal and she is a big hitter. When setter Riley Lynch needs a go-to option, Masaki is the one.
Masaki finished just outside the voting for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Fab 15 a year ago as a junior. Now, as a senior, she is certainly a strong candidate to make it.
She is looking forward to Thursday night’s challenge at undefeated Mililani against the Trojans in the quarterfinals.
“I know it’s going to be really tough,” Masaki said. “We’re coming in with a (9-3) record, and losing to Farrington (10-2) sucked (in the regular-season finale Oct. 5), but we just gotta push hard.”
Masaki — who had 22 kills against the Sabers — has three college offers, including one from Siena (Albany, N.Y), and is undecided on a commitment at this point.
In addition, Masaki sometimes gives Lynch a breather by playing setter, and that quarterback job perfectly suits her fiery personality.
“They balance each other out,” Mustangs coach Roberta Downey said. “One is quiet. The other one is loud. By the end of the matches, Riley sometimes needs a break because she is running down a lot of balls.”
Schutte, a senior, did a little bit of everything for Campbell (5-6, season over) and she is looking forward to going to college and possibly playing for a small school here in Hawaii .
Schutte had five kills, three aces, seven digs and two blocks against Kalaheo, but her specialty is a low-flying line drive serve in which she starts with a low throw up and a quick sort of sideways punch.
“She has a beautiful serve,” Kalaheo’s Downey said afterward.
Schutte did not have an error among her 12 serves.
“I got that from my parents because they would take me to the park and train me so I could learn on my own,” Schutte said about her unique serve. “I also had coaches on the side help me, but other than that it’s pretty much self-trained. Sometimes I hit the net because my arms are so long and it kind of causes me to hit it too low.”