Lady Chargers Face Undefeated Trojans In VB Road Match

Pearl City girls volleyball head coach Kory Toyozaki is hoping her team has saved some of its biggest efforts for its biggest matches.

The Chargers’ schedule will strengthen considerably over the next few weeks, beginning with Wednesday’s road trip to Mililani, which went undefeated a year ago in the OIA West Division.

“We have a really tough schedule,” said Toyozaki, whose team opened with matches (all wins) against four Division II teams. “We’ve been practicing hard every day, so hopefully we’ll peak at the right time.”

In addition to the much-anticipated road date with Mililani, the team also plays at Campbell Saturday, at home against Kapolei Sept. 15 and at Aiea Sept. 22.

“We’re just taking it one game at a time and trying to focus only on our side of the net and the things we can control,” said Toyozaki, whose team has posted wins over Nanakuli, Radford, Waipahu and Waialua so far. “We’re treat- ing Mililani as just another game.”

Like the Chargers, Mililani comes into Wednesday’s match undefeated at 4-0. “Although they are young, their offense is pretty amaz- ing,” said Toyozaki. “They have smart hitters, and (head coach) Val (Crabbe) does a good job with them year after year.”

On paper, the matchup between Mililani’s offense and Pearl City’s defense should figure big on Wednesday. Toyozaki rated the Chargers’ defense as her team’s strength to date. “They’ve been going for every ball and always playing until the whistle blows.”

On the other side of the net, “Our serving has been pretty tough, too.

“Besides our serving, our setters have been spreading around our sets so that we’re not just always going to the sides. That’s something we’ve definitely improved on, too.”

Toyozaki has put added emphasis on her team’s mindset this season, once again calling 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.”

Toyozaki’s staff of assistant coaches has also been upgraded and now includes former Aiea head coach (and Chaminade assistant) Blythe Yamamoto, in addi- tion to Chad Ramondo, Ikaika Vinta and Abe Kauhane.

“The girls feed off of us, and we’re blessed to have good chemistry,” she said. “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. Everyone is pretty even. We only have 11 girls, but we have a deep bench.”

The Chargers are hoping to remain in contention for one of the top two seeds out of the West for the OIA playoffs, which begin in October. The top two finishers during the regular bye for the post-season.