Underdog Bulldogs: Le Jardin takes its shot at ILH D-I powerhouses again

Kamehameha’s Keonilei Akana (10) and Le Jardin’s Nive Tuileta (15) battled at the net during this 2019 matchup. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser (Aug. 27, 2019).

Lee Lamb arrived on the campus of Le Jardin Academy a few years back on a mission.

The Bulldogs have become a force in Hawaii high school girls volleyball, a regular in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 as they jumped from Division II to D-I. The wait for the postponed fall 2020 season to begin is nearly over. Le Jardin visits powerhouse Kamehameha on Saturday in the season opener for each team in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play.

Sixteen months have passed since girls volleyball last played a league match.

“I think it’s safe to say that everyone is pretty excited,” Lamb said. “I know most of our kids, and myself included, would have settled for a sports experience — scrimmages and no season — but having a full ILH season is going to be special, especially for the seniors. Honestly, I’m glad the powers that be came through for these kids. I’m excited for them!”

LJA brings back an experienced team loaded with returnees.

“We only had one player graduate from last year, and one player elected not to return. Otherwise, it’s last year’s roster (2019) with the addition of three more,” Lamb said.

The key returnees include Star-Advertiser All-State setter Nive Tuileta, younger sister of former Punahou standout Larry Tuileta. Senior middles Alishya Roman and Ellie Diersbock are crucial to the play at net. Sophomores Gennezia Hawkins and Syndee Walker are outside hitters.

The match at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium will begin at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. No spectators are allowed, but the match will be streamed live.


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