There’s often been championship potential for Waianae volleyball.
The boys found themselves in the spotlight several years ago, but maintaining that level of success is not easy. The girls? Thursday’s 25-15, 25-13, 25-19 sweep of Roosevelt in the OIA Division II final was an eye-opener.
It is the first OIA volleyball championship for Waianae, even going back to the years of Thia Palakiko. Since the league began girls volleyball in 1971, the Seariders had not won a crown.
This year’s Seariders are balanced. Against Roosevelt, they hit .301 as setters Jorene Ulu and Acazia Tolentino distributed the ball evenly to Tayzia Pakele (10 kills), Enee Tiolu (eight kills), Kamilla Marinas (six kills) and middle Jasmine Fonoti (seven kills).
They defended well, limiting Roosevelt to a negative hitting percentage. But what Waianae had in surplus was poise. Each time the Rough Riders tried to string together some momentum, Waianae answered with execution. Most of the Seariders play club volleyball, head coach Wilhelm Wagner said.
Two of their assistant coaches run volleyball clubs. Fulton Dela Cruz operates Kūlia Volleyball Club in Nanakuli and Brady Marinas has Laule‘a Volleyball Club. The development and depth help Wagner immensely. Waianae was 7-3 in regular season play (OIA West) against Division I and II competition.
“They all have their little niche that they bring,” Wagner said. “The majority of them play club. You want to get better.”
Wagner noted his team’s struggle against Anuenue in the D-II semifinals, losing the first set before winning the match in four games.
“I didn’t want them over-thinking. That’s what we did against Anuenue,” he said.
Fonoti, a 5-foot-9 junior, doesn’t carry the load thanks to the balance and depth of talent. Her wingspan and energy at the net, however, are a huge factor that separates the Seariders from most D-II teams. With the HHSAA D-II state tourney around the corner, the Seariders are composed and competitive.
“We played Le Jardin in preseason. We split with them,” Wagner said of the ILH D-II runner-up.
“We’ll be back at practice tomorrow (Friday),” Fonoti said. “We just have to same mentality. We believe in one another. We trust each other. We’ve got each other’s back.”