Chargers Boys Volleyball Team Gets Shot At State DII Title

That his boys volleyball team is akin to a rock band without a true front man is all fine with Pearl City coach Brennan Velasco.

“Honestly, our chemistry is our strength,” he said. “Everyone has to rely on each other. We don’t have a go-to guy or a superstar, per se.

“We just have a bunch of kids who do a lot of things well.”

The Chargers took a 4-4 record into the weekend and were preparing in recent days for Tuesday’s OIA West season finale against Waialua.

As Pearl City has been assigned to Division II this spring, the team was looking to seal the top-seed from the West for next week’s OIA DII tournament.

A win over the Bulldogs would give Pearl City a bye for the April 21 first-round games, but would automatically move the team into the semifinals, positioning it just one win away from securing one of the OIA’s two berths for the upcoming DII state tournament.

Under OIA’s current format, DI and DII schools play each other during the season before the teams head into their respective divisions for the postseason. In the Chargers’ case, that has meant playing some of the state’s top DI teams, most notably Mililani and Waianae.

Two of its wins were over Aiea and Campbell, both DI teams.

“It is different to be 4-4 and still in first place,” said Velasco, a former Pearl City and University of Hawaii standout. “We’re looking more toward the big picture, so we looked at the DI games as tune-ups for the (DII) playoffs.”

Pearl City’s DII counterparts in the West include Radford, Nanakuli and Waialua. The East’s group of DII schools includes Castle, Kaiser, Farrington, McKinley and Anuenue.

Pairings for the OIA DII tournament will be known today following the conclusion of Tuesday’s final regular-season games.

“I think we have a real good shot in the OIA DII this year and of competing well in the state (tournament),” Velasco said. “Our kids don’t have as much experience as a lot of the DI teams we’ve played, guys who play club year round.

“The experience isn’t there, but people are starting to click, and we’re hoping we can peak at the right time.”

Velasco credited his senior class of Petro Mataia, Tyler Canon, Garette Kanamu, Joshua Arellano and P-Jay Solomon for setting the tone for the season.

“They’ve been very important to what we’ve been running,” he said. “They’ve been playing off each other. Our defense has been pretty solid, and our blocking has been good. We have a lot of size this year.”

The Chargers seek to win their first-ever DII title this year after earning nine previous OIA titles before the league separated into two divisions in 2005.

Pearl City’s OIA championships came between 1983 and 2002.