Charger Volleyball Team A Likely Contender At State Tourney

What the Pearl City boys volleyball team may have lacked in varsity experience at the season’s start, it’s compensated for with overall athleticism.

“For a lot of them, they are only first-year starters, although we have a lot of seniors,” said Pearl City head coach Stephanie Shigemasa. “We have a lot of basketball players, and they are athletic. We always have high expectations, even if we have don’t have a lot of experience coming back. But considering that, they’ve done pretty well.”

Indeed, the Chargers were on the verge of securing one of the OIA’s six state tournament berths on the weekend, needing a win over Kalaheo last Thursday, or a win this week when the tournament continues, in order to clinch a slot.

It took a 9-2 record into that quarterfinal match with Kalaheo, and it was working on a four-game win streak. Earlier in the season, it won five straight before dropping back-to-back matches to Waipahu and Aiea. Even so, the Chargers are still searching for a “complete” game, in Shigemasa’s view, despite their solid season.

“We’re still due for a big game,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best game yet. I’m hoping it comes in the next few nights. They have the potential to play well. I’m hoping they believe in themselves, and they show up this week and have one of those big games.”

Senior outside hitter Joseph Hammond has been among the top weapons to date.

“He’s a natural athlete. He has a nice arm swing. He just needs to gain more varsity experience.

“Our serving and passing has been consistent,” she added. “Our offense is mainly our strong point – it carries us through. We have some good-sized kids.

“Ball-handling is always a huge factor in the playoffs. Once you get there, everyone is back at zero, and the regular season doesn’t matter. Also, it is about who wants it and who will go out there and play to win rather than play as if scared to lose.”

Pearl City has won 10 boys league titles in its history, the most recent coming in 2001 under current athletic director (and Stephanie’s husband)

Reid Shigemasa. The OIA tournament continues this week with games on Tuesday and Thursday. (Matchups were to be determined by results from late last week). The tournament continues next week with the title game set for April 26.