Kailua Volleyball Captain Working On College Libero Moves

There’s little doubt who sets the pace at practice for Kailua’s girls volleyball team. It’s senior captain Keala Kaio-Perez. A year after helping it to a runner-up finish in the OIA White Division, Kaio-Perez and team began 2013 with a 2-1 start in the OIA Red. She recently took some time to visit with MidWeek‘s Windward Islander.

Who’s had the biggest impact on your life? My mom is my best friend, strongest supporter and biggest ally. She’s always been there to celebrate my accomplishments, to pick me up when I fall, and most importantly, to love me unconditionally. I love you, Mom!

What is your earliest sports-related memory? My grandmother introduced me to volleyball when I was about 4. I remember being a little bit scared when she would toss the ball to me to pass back. But thanks to her patience, understanding and determination, I learned the fundamentals of volleyball and to love the game.

What area of your game did you focus on in the off-season? I spent a lot of time working on my serve-receive passing. Based upon my height, I know I have to transition to play as a libero in college, and now feel that my passing is one of the strongest aspects of my game.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned through athletics? This year I was selected to be the captain. I tell my team-mates that being successful this season is much more than just winning matches. It’s about working hard every day in practice, never giving up and always striving to do the best we can do.

Who’s been the best “practice player” this season, the girl who gives 110 percent at all times? Amber Tai is the only freshman to make it on varsity and will probably take my spot as starting outside hitter after I graduate. She has a great work ethic, listens to everything the coaches and upperclassmen have to say, and focuses every practice on making herself better.

What Internet site do you frequent the most? Instagram! I’m friends with a lot of volleyball players from schools across the state, and we’re constantly posting pictures and keeping in touch. It’s about social networking.

What is your least favorite household chore? Washing the dishes. I’m not sure why, but it makes me feel like Cinderella.

What movie could you watch over and over? Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I really find myself relating to Ariel. After all, Ariel’s independent, has big dreams, and is the kind of girl that every prince would like to get to know better – just like me!

When you have free time, how do you like to spend it? Aside from volleyball, I also enjoy playing basketball and softball. I tend to be a very active person and love to work out and exercise.

What celebrity would you most like to meet? Mariah Carey has one of the most amazing singing voices of any female artists. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that she also has a big heart and is very generous when it comes to donating her time and money to nonprofits. She is a great role model, and I would love to ask her how she manages to be so successful and be a mom at the same time.