Chargers Represent West In DI State Volleyball Tournament

The focus for the Pearl City girls volleyball team all season long has been “the things we control,” as head coach Kory Toyozaki likes to say. That is again the case this week as it prepares for the Division I state tournament.

Since July, the Chargers’ biggest strength has been their team unity, and that includes the coaching staff. “The new staff and the girls have gotten along well. Like last year, we don’t have any one go-to person. They’re all about the team concept,” Toyozaki said.

In addition to having an impressive assistant coaching staff, featuring former Aiea head coach (and Chaminade assistant) Blythe Yamamoto, plus Chad Ramondo, Ikaika Vinta and Abe Kauhane, Toyozaki also has called on the services of sports psychologist Darryl Oshiro of Positive Focus. “He helps the girls to see that they can only control what they can control,” she said.

The Chargers are the only West Oahu team to make the DI state tournament this year, as the other slots were secured by East teams. Pairings for the state tournament, which runs Tuesday-Saturday, were to be revealed Sunday night. Friday’s action, which includes the state title game, takes place at 7 p.m. at Blaisdell Arena.

Since prep volleyball was divided into two classes by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association in 2001, only one OIA team has won a state title.

This year, the Red Raiders could be poised to provide a breakthrough for the OIA, after entering last Thursday evening in the driver’s seat to win the league Red conference tournament, needing only one more win to seal the deal.

Like Toyozaki, Ah-Hoy stresses the mental approach with her Kahuku team. “For our girls, and I’ve been repeating this every day to them, it’s about the mental game,” she said.

The Red Raiders also share another attribute with their OIA counterparts from Pearl City: Kahuku possesses plenty of balance. Adora Anae tallied a match-high 25 kills and three aces, and Pati Anae contributed 10 kills and a match-high seven blocks in the Red Raiders’ big win over Mililani in the championship round of the OIA Tournament last week, but Kahuku has had several different leaders on a nightly basis.

“Having a different kill leader every game is a plus,” Ah Hoy said.