Rick Tune and Isaac Liva were talking near the net after Thursday’s first state volleyball semifinal match at Moanalua.
Tune, the former star at Hawaii and Pepperdine and in high school at Punahou, did more than congratulate Liva for a great season. The Punahou head coach offered his help as well, but we’ll get to that a little later.
You see a few weeks ago, Liva, Mililani’s powerful outside hitter, committed to play for Hawaii next season. He had been recruited by Rainbow Warriors coach Charlie Wade, made his decision, and didn’t tell too many people.
Kind of makes sense that the soft-spoken Liva, all 6 feet 5 of him, wouldn’t tell the world. He quietly became a menace on the Mililani football team as a defensive lineman last season after transferring from Hawaii Baptist, where he was part of last year’s Division II state champion volleyball team.
It wasn’t that long ago that Trojans football head coach Rod York was commenting about how Liva did not know how to put the pads on when he arrived for his first football season. It wasn’t long after that that Liva was sacking opposing quarterbacks.
And now he’s going to play volleyball for UH.
“They got a good one,” said Tune, who will be trying to lead Punahou to its fifth straight state crown Friday night against Moanalua at Blaisdell Arena. “He has unreal athletic ability.”
Liva had 16 kills in the three-set semifinal loss to Tune’s Buffanblu.
“He congratulated me on a great season and he offered to help me this summer with his boys before I go to UH,” said Liva, who said that he’s been texting with Rainbow Warrior Kupono Fey and that Fey has been an invaluable help in the recruiting process.
Tune is there to help all volleyball players, not just his own.
“It’s part of every coach’s responsibility to grow the game,” he said. “Other than that moment where you’re competing, it’s everybody’s responsibility to have a broader picture of the game and the athletes who play it.”