Aiea Volleyball Team Has DI Dreams

The Aiea girls volleyball team season-opener was a coming-out party for Leleo Maeva. The junior middle blocker had a monster match to help drive the team across the finish line in its 25-23, 25-17 home win over Waianae last week.

“She’s coming on, she looks more comfortable out there,” said co-head coach Kory Toyozaki. “At one point, she was at 1.000 (as a hitting percentage) and she had no errors. Of course, without good passing she wouldn’t be getting all of those kills. Our setters (Destyni Grace and Kamalani Cachola) did a good job.”

Hopes again are high for Aiea, which is looking to return to the Division I state tournament this November after ending a four-year drought last fall when Na Ali’i finished 9-7.

Toyozaki and co-head coach Blythe Yamamoto have a youthful roster this time around, making the win over the Seariders all the more impressive.

“The girls were pretty scrappy,” Toyozaki said. “I like that our girls never gave up. We had to come from behind during the first set. We’re still a young team with only two seniors and some transfers. They found a way to stick together and get a win.”

Aiea had an open date on its schedule last Thursday and was to host Nanakuli Tuesday. This Thursday, it faces its first road test at 7 p.m. at

Radford. The Rams dropped their opener to Leilehua, 2-1, but are traditionally strong.

“We’ll have to step up our defense,” Toyozaki said. “Coach Candace (Fujiwara) always produces good teams, and they are always tall and athletic. We are going to see if our leaders and captains can keep their nerves calm and just go out and play together as a team. The girls are all really getting along. We’re pleased with that.”

Aiea’s roster also includes Lole Kalani-Liulama, Katelyn Nakasone, Alayna Iose, Leslie Lagafuaina, Vevesi Liilii, Marissah Martinez, Christina Betham and Kristen Kauahi.

On the heels of the Radford game, Aiea will play Waipahu Sept. 16 at home. Other home dates are against Pearl City and Kapolei, both on Sept. 23.

The road schedule has the girls facing Waialua Sept. 18, Mililani Sept. 25, Leilehua Oct. 2 and Campbell Oct. 7.