Lady Falcons Prepare For McKinley Pre-season VB Tourney

Among the priorities for Kalani girls volleyball head coach Janeen Waialae during “fall” camp is finding a leader on the floor, having graduated a large senior class of players.

In senior returnees Polovina Fangaiuiha and Shandlynn Willing, Waialae hopes she has found the answer. “It (camp) has been a test of their leadership skills,” she said. “We need them to help their young team-mates, so they want to follow in their footsteps.”

Both Fangaiuiha and Willing were key components for the Falcons, who finished 7-5 last year in the ultra-competitive OIA East. A loss to Aiea in the first round of the playoffs ended their bid for a league berth at states.

“(Fangaiuiha) is very vocal,” Waialae said. “That’s always good — especially in volleyball — to have someone like that, who can take charge. We’re looking at her to fill a hitter position because we lost a big hitter (Kerri Okino) from last year.

“Willing was our libero last year, and she’s coming back with experience. She is a little more quiet (than Fangaiuiha), but she gets the job done.”

Waialae also is high on junior Rika Okino, who was a mainstay in the lineup as a sophomore. “She’s our floor leader and a real consistent player. Her court sense is really strong. She plays a different role in her club (ASICS). There, she is a libero, but here she’s an outside hitter and a setter.”

The bulk of the roster is underclassmen and newcomers. Being in the rebuilding mode, however, has its advantages, according to Waialae. “When they’re that young and inexperienced, they definitely come with less bad habits. They’re coachable and moldable. They have a lot of potential for growth, which is exciting for me. I like to watch them grow.

“We have a little more height for Kalani than in most years,” she added. “There’s a lot of raw talent and ability.”

Kalani is preparing for the McKinley Pre-Season Volleyball Tournament Aug. 16-18. The Falcons will begin their OIA season the first week of September.

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